Tots & Geese on Tjörnin

Feeding the geese at TjörninNow that the geese and swans of Tjörnin are all in the one un-frozen corner of the pond, it makes feeding them even more fun than in the summer. Even better though, is grabbing a Kleina (a delicious fried pastry- Kornið on  Lækjargata has the best ones) and a coffee, sitting on a bench in a rare ray of sunlight, and watching the parents bring their kids to feed the birds. The freezing of the pond also herds all the fowl-photographing tourists into one corner, which provides even more people watching opportunities.

Feeding the geese at Tjörnin

Feeding the geese at Tjörnin

[The photos in this post are scans of unedited film shots taken by me with a Canon EOS Rebel 2000.]

Snapshots from a Truly Glorious Winter Day

Reykjavik on a cold winter day

Today was gorgeous. I arrived at school at 8:30 in the dark for my last final of my first semester of graduate school. Today is also cold. It was about -10 Celsius (16 Fahrenheit) on my way to class. Walking home at noon, the sun came out over (ok more like next to, the sun doesn’t really very high off the horizon this time of year) the snowy, frozen city. I rarely carry a camera on me, but today I had the little Nikon coolpix my parents sent me, and managed to get some great snapshots of my walk home from school. As I look at these, I just feel so blessed to be able to see these gorgeous views every day.

Reykjavik on a cold winter day

This is Tjörnin, the little lake in the center of the city, about two blocks from where I live. It’s gorgeous frozen. You can kind of see a flock of birds at the far end. They pump hot water (plenty of that here) into the corner so the swans can stay in the city all winter.

Reykjavik on a cold winter day

The sun shining off Aðalbygging, the main building of my university, Háskóli Íslands. Continue reading

A moment by Tjörnin

Today [I wrote this on Wednesday Oct 9], was sunny and gorgeous (until the sun went down at the dismally early 6:30pm). After class, I went for a run around the city. It’s a great way to clear the mind, soak up a little sunlight, and get to know Reykjavik 101.

I usually finish up by Tjörnin, the pond, and then spend some time watching the many birds that spend the winter here. Today, I sat down next to the delightful statue of Tómas Guðmundsson, an Icelandic author and poet. The statue is seated on a public bench, with room for one more person, and it commands a lovely view of the city hall and the colorful Reykjavik 101.

Reykjavik City Pond

While I was sitting in the sunshine, two housecats wandered over (Reykjavik is full of healthy, collared, clean, free-roaming housecats). They sat down on either side of Tómas and me. I miss my pets, so it’s always nice to have a friendly animal to hang out with. While Cat A, Cat B, and me were bonding, a mother and her 4 or 5 year old were walked nearby. The little boy was very excited about the cats. He walked over, smiling at me, then smiling at the cats. At this age, most of the little kids don’t know any English, so I could only communicate by smiling back. We both watched and laughed together as one of the cats climbed up and perched on the statue’s head to watch the swans and geese preening in the shallow edges of the pond. It was a wonderful moment of shared amusement with little kid who couldn’t speak my language (especially since I just watched a great film set in Iceland and starring children, “Days of Gray,” about a future society where there is no language).

Statue on bench

The First Snow in Reykjavik

Esja in the snow this morning. Photo by Hanna Adelheid

Esja in the snow this morning. Photo by Hanna Adelheid

Today the city woke up to the first snow of winter. As I walked to the University, the bright sun was bouncing off the fresh layer of snow on every roof and sidewalk and car. The mountains around the city were highlighted by the snow, and were more visible than usual. Many of the trees still have orange and gold leaves, which looked so perfect dipping under the weight of the melting snow. There was no wind, and the air was crisp but not uncomfortably cold. I just can’t exaggerate how clean and satisfying the air here is, especially today. Now, lunchtime, it has started to rain and wash away night’s work, so it looks like this was just a morning treat.

On the way back from classes, I walked by the Pond. The outer rim was just barely frozen. A family stopped by the edge to throw bread to the ducks, geese, swans, and sea birds. It was quite funny watching the bigger birds frantically push/wobble/hop awkwardly through the slush to get to the newly freed area of water and the breadcrumbs while the sea birds just walked across.

Conclusions: Reykjavik is stunning in the snow. Iceland is adorable. I love it here.

Photo from this morning by Hanna Adelheid

Photo from early this morning by Hanna Adelheid

Picture from early this morning via Toward Icelandic Design

Picture from early this morning via Adam Flint-Taylor: Toward Icelandic Design