I'm in a little bit of a post-Iceland lull these past few weeks and thinking a lot about "the big issues" in life. It's funny, even though I am in my mid-thirties I still have the sense that, any moment now, my real life is about to start. I think I am letting too much pass by me, waiting, waiting for someone to tell me that life is happening now, all around me. The good life can't always be about the big things, like a trip to Iceland. Sometimes it's the little things- the pink velvet petals of roses in full bloom, a perfect cup of coffee, a lazy weekend cuddle with a fluffy orange cat, that make life grand.
You can't spend a week talking about Iceland without a post about Reykjavik. The northernmost city in the world (!), what Reykjavik lacks in size, it more than makes up for in character. We completely fell in love with the city and quickly shifted into its rhythm. Here are a few of our favorite things...
Color everywhere. A smart way to brighten up dark winter days.
Street art all over the place. Everywhere you look, there's amazing art of the street, from murals to mosiacs to mirrored waterfalls.
Quiet. For a city, Reykjavik is incredibly peaceful, except of course, at 3 am on a Saturday night on Laugevegur.
A few other favorites that I didn't take pictures of:
The Pools. An Icelandic tradition and favorite social activity, Reykjavik is home to several public pools. They feature hot pots and bigger pools heated at or around 38 degrees celsius. Locals go to the pools to hang out with family and friends, relax a bit or even go on dates (it's a common 2nd date). If you go to Iceland, you have to check out a few local pools! Saegreifinn. Owned to a retired sea captain who lives upstairs, Saegreifinn serves delicious fish kebobs fresh from the ocean and lobster soup. It is delicious. Harlem Bar. A super-fun bar/club with good djs. On our last night in town, a few of the guys from Sigur Ros were djing. It was awesome.
About two days into our trip, The Mr. and I noticed something curious about Reykjavik: there were cats everywhere! I'm not talking mangy feral cats either; these cats looked plump and well groomed, as if they had been fed on a steady diet of salmon skin and skyr. There were cats in every garden, on every stoop and we watched one even use the crosswalk to get across the street (naturally, the cars stopped for him)! It was cat paradise. And any cat paradise is also Kayte paradise.
I googled, "cats of Reykjavik" one night and sure enough, lots of people wonder about the cats. On a recent visit, Haruki Murakami became enthralled with the many felines prowling about. People have even made calendars about the cats. I can't find a great explanation for exaclty why there are so many cats in Iceland: some say it's because dogs were illegal for years, others, that Icelanders prefer a pet that, like themselves, appreciates its independece. Whatever the reason, finding cats on our walks became a daily game!