Finally, the weather is behaving a bit more Icelandically, overcast with thick white fog draping the snow-topped fjords. Rain, at last! Refreshing. It’s even cold enough to finally wear the wool winter coat I’ve been dragging all around Iceland.
A rainy day in Akureyri
Oliver slept until 3 pm today, after returning from his midnight golf round sometime near “dawn.” He verified that it never got anything near dark. Somehow this never ceases to amaze me. I didn’t mind actually, his sleeping half the day, though we’d planned to have a “spa day” at the Akureyri swimming pool, with a long soak in a “heiti poturinn” (hot pool) so common throughout Iceland.
Instead, I stayed at home at Kiddi and Solveig’s house, writing up notes and staring out the window at a ribbon of fog that reminded me of San Francisco. After the whirlwind of our travels, I’m quite content to sit alone all day, writing, staring out the window at fog and clouds, more writing, more staring.
Now Oliver has woken up and we are ensconced in the bookstore café in downtown Akureyri. Toddlers, infants, pregnant women, and blond teenage girls clad in black tights prevail, along with bookish trendy-looking men and other café regulars. Between the grinding of espresso beans and babies shrieking, it makes for a noisy bookstore experience… (To tell the truth, I have my earplugs in!)
Family friendly bookstore café in Akureyri, with multiple generations of family members and a play station on the far right.
We seem to see so many babies everywhere we go—the outcome
of the Icelandic baby boom that took place immediately after the economic
collapse? Iceland is very family-friendly, with diaper changing stations in all
the restrooms, children’s play tables set up in cafés, and even a large play
area in the middle of the Keflavík
We seem to see so many babies everywhere we go—the outcome of the Icelandic baby boom that took place immediately after the economic collapse? Iceland is very family-friendly, with diaper changing stations in all the restrooms, children’s play tables set up in cafés, and even a large play area in the middle of the Keflavík airport.
And some more home-cooked seafood meals in Akureyri...
Solveig serves up a wonderful skýr pie (Icelandic cultured dairy, similar to yogurt) with Danish cherry sauce.
The Danes ruled Iceland for centuries, and Iceland only recceived full independence at the end of WWII. Akureyri itself began as a Danish trading town -- Danes controlled all Icelandic trade -- and many of the old houses are built in a Danish style.
After securing their independence, the Icelanders began systematically removing all Danish spellings from their language... but they still love Danish cherry sauce!
On our first night, Kiddi prepared us fish cakes, made with haddock he’d caught himself that day in the fjord, following a recipe of his late mother’s. We never get tired of eating seafood in Iceland!
Kiddi does all the cooking in the family, which doesn't seem strange to either Oliver or I, since we both grew up in families where our fathers did all the cooking.
Tomorrow will be our last day in Iceland, and I must admit I have a very strong longing to remain. A job just opened up here teaching English at the Mentaskól (which equates to the end of our high school and the first two years of college). Solveig has determined I have all the right qualifications, and perhaps Oliver could get a job in the beautiful Akureyri library... All dreams for now, but maybe someday.
In the meantime, we have a wedding to prepare for!