PATCHES OF ICELAND: Love at Last Sight

We started the day back over in the warm waters of Vesturbæjarlaug. It was much busier today with festivalgoers and a local Sunday crowd. It was in the sea of people that I saw him… the most beautiful man I have ever seen (in real life)! Maybe he wasn’t the most beautiful but there was something about him that made me catch my breath in way I don’t remember having done before! He was unmistakably Icelandic with lustrous near-black hair and ink blue eyes set deep in his rugged, yet pale Viking face. He was even age-appropriate. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He was perfect… and so was his magnificent wife and child who soon swam up to him and drowned my dreams. As he paddled out of my life forever, he crossed paths with an even more exquisite, and far less age-appropriate young man who appeared to have stepped out of the pages of a magazine and directly into my eyeline. He too had dark hair and flawless skin but his eyes were glacial blue – and I thought I didn’t have a type! He looked like Asgeir if they were making a movie and needed someone even more good looking to play him.

Good morning Reykjavik!
Good morning Reykjavik!

Perhaps it was all the hot men in the hot water that inspired me to take a plunge in the cold pool. I’d done it the other day but not without squealing and swearing like a trooper. After watching exactly NOONE else have that reaction, I was determined to do it silently and gracefully. My first attempt was silent but it was not graceful. It was a like a demented game of charades for a movie called Hypothermia. Not satisfied that I’d achieved mastery of the mind, I made another attempt, further challenging myself to stay in for 10 seconds without grimacing. It might not sound like long but the mercury was approaching zero and the water only a couple of degrees more! Luckily there was already someone in there, apparently without nerve endings, who was happy to strike up a short conversation and distract me from the pain. He lingered while I made my excuses and dashed to the hottest of pots (42-44°C) where my skin instantly prickled all over in the most exhilarating way. I tell you, that’s one way to know you’re alive!

Vesturbæjarlaug or Valhalla?
Vesturbæjarlaug or Valhalla?

We went home to change into our many layers, though not as many as we had at the beginning of the week. We finally worked out the balance between keeping warm for the walk but cool enough for the concerts without having to hold too much to dance. Tonight’s venue was a stadium slightly further afield to accommodate the big, best-of, lineup. I think it’s fair to say that by this stage, we were both utterly exhausted and the thought of another night on our feet was too much to bear. We fantasized about this venue being seated, it made sense that it would be if it was a stadium but when the doors opened, it was empty of any kind of sitting surface other than the floor itself. We made a bee-line for the wall and we weren’t the only ones. It wasn’t long before we spotted people laying flat out and we followed suit. In Sydney, you’d never get away with that – security would force you onto your aching feet but here, we could do as we pleased, and this pleased us very much.

View from the dance floor of Karina in the seated bar
View from the dance floor of Karina in the seated bar area

We sat up for the bands and even rose to our feet for our favourites, such as Vök who were first up. Next was Emmsjė Gauti who we hadn’t yet seen although by now, we were well acquainted with the backing band! It was Agent Fresco and Úlfur Úlfur again in yet another guise! If we thought we were tired, these guys must’ve been dead on their instruments but you couldn’t tell. Conveniently, Agent Fresco and Úlfur Úlfur were the next bands in the line up and of course they had us up and moving, singing along to songs that were now anthemic of our Airwaves adventure. The less said about the next act, Sleaford Mods, the better. We were joined in our disdain by the campest death metal fan in the world who’d pulled up a patch of floor next to us. After persevering with mostly my-kind-of-music, I felt bad that Karina was only now connecting with her people and finding out about the bands she should have seen.

Agent Fresco got us on our feet...
Agent Fresco got us on our feet…

Hot Chip were the big, penultimate show stoppers and I’d been looking forward to their show from the get-go but I was flagging badly and Karina was no better. I made a mental list of the songs I really wanted to hear and checked them off as they played them. Once they finished Over and Over, I gave Karina the nod and we were out of there. Big ups to Karina who I suspect is not any kind of Hot Chip fan. There was one more band, FM Belfast, but I’ve already booked tickets to see them back in Sydney during the Sydney Festival so I was happy enough to pass knowing that I would see them soon in a more intimate arena (UPDATE: I have since seen FM Belfast and they were AWESOME!!! They looked like members of five completely different bands stitched together. A perfect example of no one matching but everyone belonging. They reminded me very much of Architecture in Helsinki though both bands defy comparison to any other.)

...but not for long
…but not for long

The weather has been fairly mild for most of our time in Reykjavik, around +5°C and very soggy. It’s definitely getting colder though with the thermometer showing an even 0°C as we made our way to the gig and probably even colder now that we were leaving. But here in Iceland, the cold brings many rewards. If our first night in the Blue Lagoon gave us a spectacular ‘Welcome to Iceland’ in the form of a beautiful Northern Lights show, the dazzling display we were now surrounded by as we made our way home for our last night was surely saying “Thanks for coming. We hope to see you again soon” in the most stunning, twinkling font the world has ever seen. And me without my camera again! Ah well, we’ll just have to do as the lights bid and come back to Reykjavik soon…

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