For many years now I've had a secret little fantasy of one day coming to Reykjavik to just write. Today (15.07.11) that dream came true albeit a somewhat diminished version of the original grand plan in which I am paid a massive advance to write my masterpiece as opposed to labouring away on my hideously delayed blog. Still, at this point in time, I'm a little more concerned about making a life rather than making a living.
By Patches McGee, aka Naomi Doyle.
I took up residence at Hemmi og Valdi, a very cosy and cool little cafe/bar on the main street (Laugavegur) where I could watch the world go by, or Reykjavik at least. It was a glorious day outside making me one of the few people happy to be indoors, alleviating any pressure for me to drink up and move on. I managed to knock out a couple of entries before the lure of the sunshine and street music became too much too resist.
I had no particular destination in mind but my feet seemed to find the path they'd beaten several times before, leading me straight to Fríða Frænka - a veritable treasure trove spread over two overflowing floors of every kind of crazy-crap you can imagine - furniture, dead stock wallpaper, vintage kitchenware, jewelry and the finest collection of circa 1960 plastic and melamine children's ephemera. Fríða Frænka is in a league of its own serving as much as a museum as a shop.
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From the old to the new, I next discovered another recent addition to the ever-burgeoning Reykjavik cafe scene - Laundromat. If Fríða Frænka hadn't reminded me of the library in my own house, then this place practically transported me with its bookshelf bar lined with colour-coded spines, maps and globes around the walls interspersed with a smattering of leftist political slogans - it was a little spooky. I stayed for a drink before leaving the parallel universe for further rambling around town and the lake, Tjörnin, which had been frozen last time I was here.
Feeling a little peckish, I decided to follow a tip I'd received about the best place to get a veggie burger in town. The address I had led me to a very fancy bar that didn't at all match the description I'd been given. I went in anyway and was almost immediately ushered out the back by the waiter who seemed to know my type and what I was after. Sure enough, tucked away in what I assume is an incongruous, back room sublet situation, there was my speak-easy burger joint only meters, yet a whole world away from the far more salubrious establishment fronting it. Luckily there was a spare crate upon which I could enjoy my burger and fries and not much else!
Still broad daylight, my senses were mistrusting of my watch which insisted it was almost 9pm. I wandered towards the apartment where I was happily met by Halla. Our chit chat over a beer quickly turned into deep conversation over several. By the end of the night, we were firm friends already making plans for the rest of the week.
Thanks to Naomi for sharing her journey with us and stay tuned for her next guest blog which will be posted Feb 4th! Check out her guest profile
Naomi Doyle, aka Patches McGee is a writer, traveller and phone-ographer in desperate need of your help to make her next trip to see the Northern Lights a reality. Join the journey here by subscribing to her blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
If you haven't read her previous post check it out here