What an eminently civilized Saturday!

We slept late, lazed around in bed until 11.15, then got up and prepared some French toast and coffee for breakfast. At which time EPI got it into his head [after looking at the invitation card he’d received, that is] that there were going to be art exhibition openings all over the city, seeing as how the Reykjavík Arts Festival is just about to get underway. So what with the sun being out and the weather looking lovely [from the window at least] we figured we’d head downtown [about a 15 minute walk from our place] to see what exciting goings-on we could find.

But alas, what should we encounter at the Reykjavík Art Museum? Closed doors! EPI had got the date wrong – the Arts Festival festivities do not begin until next weekend and the gallery is tightly shut in preparation for the big Dieter Roth exhibition set to open there in a week’s time. So as we were standing there looking all puzzled, who should walk up but my sister, with my little niece in a pram. After a brief chat and viewing of the Camper shoes she’d just bought, EPI and I strolled onwards, down to Austurvöllur square, where, indeed, the cafes had their tables outside and scantily clad Icelanders were sunning themselves and pretending to be in southern Europe. [Which is a syndrome here: whenever the sun comes out and the temps are anywhere above the freezing mark, Icelanders start removing their clothing and pretending to warm.]

We, however, decided to act our latitude and instead ducked into the fabulous bookstore/specialty shop/delicatessen/café IÐA, on Austurstræti. Ended up spending almost an hour in there, browsing through books and chatting to people. I bought a couple of books – one of which is a gift, the other which is a re-issue of Jane Eyre with font that is actually large enough to be readable – and upstairs in the deli we bought ourselves an Italian espresso maker, some chocolate-covered orange peel and some cookies, in between snacking on samples of things they had out for tasting. [Yum!]

Having bought the espresso maker, obviously we needed some espresso to put in it, so we headed up Bankastræti to Laugavegur, ducked into the Sævar Karl art gallery and had a boo at the exhibition downstairs, before heading up Skólavörðustígur, which is the street that leads to Hallgrímskirkja church. Passing the Ófeigur art gallery/shop, we glanced in the window, and saw two of EPI’s friends playing jazz as part of a trio. There were lots of people mulling around and of course we had to go in – discovered what we’d suspected, that there was an exhibition opening. So we chatted a bit, checked out the exhibition, passed on the white wine, then slipped out and carried on up the street to one of my favourite shops, Pipar & Salt [can you guess what it means?] which sells gorgeous British kitchen things and some of the best tea in the city. We stocked up on Earl Grey and English Breakfast, before heading down to Te & Kaffi [can you guess what it means?] to pick up some freshly ground espresso.

By that time we’d been wandering and meandering for about 3 hours and had run into about 10 people we knew and it was time to get back because EPI had an appointment with his daughter. Plus it was getting a tad cool, what with the unpleasant northerly winds we’ve been having and the sun having all but disappeared.

Back home: a cup of hot tea, biscuits with cheese and apricot marmalade, mmm. Then YT crawled into bed with her book and read before dozing off for a while, only to wake up when AAH came home. And now we’re about to fire up the barbecue for some grilled lamb, baked potato, grilled red pepper and mushroom sauce a la EPI. Plus some excellent Australian red from Wolf Blass. Très, très bon!

Temps currently 7°C. Daybreak was at 03.21 and nightfall is set for 23.32.