Anonymous asked: Hi! I am bringing 2 friends to Reykjavik, dates 27.12-03.01. I have been there several times before, and have already a fullset timetable til new years eve. Do you recomend something other than Blue Lagoon, Geysir and Gullfoss, Laugardalslaug , ice skating and the weeend-marked? I really want to make my friends love the city as much as I do. Is it possible to borrow ice skates and go ice skating on the pond in Reykjavik? Best regards from Norway :)
Hi. New Year’s Eve is a great time to be in Reykjavik. Just don’t expect to be able to get anywhere in the evening or during the night. It’s impossible to get a taxi and the streets are blocked by leftovers of fireworks. There are three things you should try to do on New Year’s Eve. First, go to a bonfire. There are about 10 large bonfires in Reykjavik and they are generally lit at 20:30. After that, aim to be either someplace downtown, perhaps by Hallgrímskirkja or somewhere high up with a good view, around midnight. Buy some fireworks from one of the rescue teams and bring them with you. The rescue teams in Iceland are almost only funded by selling fireworks for New Year’s Eve. Finally, enjoy the party.
The first day of the year is a very closed day. It’s a holiday and very few things are open. Some tours do run though. The nightlife can be pretty good on the first as well, but most places won’t open until after midnight.
It is impossible to be sure if The Pond will be frozen at that time. I guess it is about a 50/50 chance. A skating area is usually cleared once the ice is thick enough close to the City Hall. Unfortunately, there is no skate rental by the pond. There has sometimes been one for special occasions, but not regularly. There is, however, a skating rink with a rental in Laugardalur.
Go walk on a glacier! You can do a glacier tour like this one (all year long), or an even better one like this one (there might be departures even though it says its not running at that time of year).
If you have the money, try a super jeep tour. Otherwise, just stroll around town and enjoy not taking part in everybody else’s Christmas stress. Walk through the “Kolaportið” flea market, drink plenty of hot chocolate and enjoy the lights. Since Iceland’s winter is a dark one and since we have super cheap electricity, a lot of people go pretty crazy on Christmas lights.
Anonymous asked: Does Reykjavik have a "missed connections" type site? I would one would be useful because of the notorious bar scene, but then again, it is a small city.
We all know each other.
Iceland is used to experiencing some pretty extreme weather, but this was a considerably stronger storm than we are used to. There are usually several strong storms that go over the country each fall, but this one was unusual in how long it took and in that it was very strong around the whole island. Houses in Iceland are built to handle both extreme weather and earthquakes, yet there was considerable damage. Roofs were blown away, cars were blown off roads and parking lots and some people were blown away. Fortunately there were no serious injuries, but plenty of broken bones as people were swept up by the wind.
The storm was caused by a particularly sharp contrast between a high pressure area over Greenland and a low pressure zone off of Iceland’s southeast coast. The highest average wind measured in Reykjavik was 38 m/s (140kmh, 74knts, 85mph) and gusts as high as 64 m/s (230kmh, 124knts, 143mph). By comparison, Hurricane Sandy topped out at 40 m/s in the US. But the weather was actually far from being worst in Reykjavik. In the north and eastern parts of the country, strong winds were combined with heavy snowfall. The highest wind measured was 70 m/s (252kmh, 136knts, 157mph), just short of the record breaking 74,2 m/s measured in 1995.
Update: Unconfirmed data from a weather station in Iceland indicates gusts of 125 m/s.
This is a view from an office window in Reykjavik.
Rescue teams were busy tying down roofs.
Out for a walk in Reykjavik.
The weather coincided with the Iceland Airwaves music festival and since guests would have to walk this path by the sea to get to Harpan, Reykjavik’s opera house, buses were used to transport guests.
This statue in the north kept a lookout during the storm.
People in the town of Blönduós received their morning paper despite the storm. The mailman simply used his snow scooter.
Volunteer rescue workers excavate snow from a fishing boat at Skagaströnd to prevent it from tipping over.
It’s not every day that tractors are picked up by gusts of winds. This tractor was parked by a farm on the south coast.
Roofs of the outhouses at the farm of Berjanes were blown off.
The town of Egilsstaðir in the east had some of the heaviest snowfall.
Truck blown off the road, just outside Reykjavik.
A trailer parked outside a house in Reykjavik exploded in the wind.
Snow in Akureyri.
If you want to see a better overview of the storm and practice your Icelandic, try watching the TV news overview. You can even see rescue teams driving people to work in their tracked snow cats. There’s also a short video showing around town in Egilsstaðir here.
Snow buried this farm in Aðaldalur.
Snow in Reyðarfjörður.
Young Petra Sigurðardóttir helps uncover the family car in Egilsstaðir.
Cartoonist, Hugleikur Dagsson, was inspired by the weather:
Maybe you’ve seen this picture of a whale blown onto land in the Reykjavik harbor. It has been passed around the internet quite a bit. Of course it is just photoshop.