Just when you thought it couldn’t get any darker in Iceland–it did. We are down to about five-ish hours of daylight now, with the sun rising around 11 AM and going back down at 4:30ish. It is convenient that this new level of daytime darkness coincides with winter break because it has become really, really hard to wake up in the morning. And, of course, it is a cycle: it’s hard to wake up before the sun rises, so you sleep in until 11:00. You sleep in until 11:00, you stay up until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. Which makes it all the harder to get up before daylight…You see where this leaves us. Spending much of our time in the dark.
Well, Mark and I have been making concerted efforts to get up before the sun these days, but failing that, it is at least important to try and get out a little (or be near a window facing the right direction) while it (the sun) is up, for our daily vitamin-D infusion at the very least, if not also to stave off seasonal depression. Yesterday, Mark was hard at work on a freelance project, so I had to cook up some activities for myself that would allow for some good out-in-the-sun time.
Mark recently had to track down a book for class at the library in the neighboring town of Seltjarnarnes, and had suggested to me that I might enjoying returning the book for him. If this sounds like a horrible ploy for gullible girlfriends to you, let me clarify. As we know, I love libraries and like visiting different public libraries especially. Additionally, from the little time I have spent there, I really like Seltjarnarnes–it is located on the tip of the peninsula and is surrounded on three sides by the ocean, which makes it super windy, but also beautiful. It also boasts a fancily renovated pool in which not only all of the hot pots, but also the lap pool are salt-water, which is very nice on the skin. But I have not had the chance to visit this pool thus far. It is just kitty-corner to the Seltjarnarnes library (which is on the second floor of a small mall), so in fact, returning Mark’s library book would give me an excuse to do a lot of things that I would enjoy in one swell swoop.
I’m not sure why, but my camera mysteriously decided to not save the photos I took of the Christmas Book Tree. This is very sad-making, and is why I don’t have a photo of this in the slideshow above…
It was a reasonably crisp day, and windy, but clear. So I decided to walk a good portion of the way there via the ocean path I’ve mentioned and catch the bus about a mile and a half along the way. For extra added fun, I bundled into the ski-coveralls that I got (in Arizona) last year, otherwise known as my “snow-veralls.” And for the record, it is awesome to just walk around in cozy-warm, weather-proof, swishy-noise overalls. I highly recommend it. So I walked along listening to the swishing noise of my snow pants and, in my headphones, Lionel Hampton, who is not Icelandic, but does play the vibraphone, which seems seasonal to me somehow. Also, he has a great song called “Voice of the North,” which seemed especially appropriate for walking along the ocean in Iceland.
I couldn’t find a video of Lionel Hampton performing that song, but here is another one, just to put you in the right sort of mood:
After my lovely walk, I caught the bus and went a few more stops to the library. It is a small library, but a really nice little branch with a good selection of movies, a comfortable reading area, a puzzle station (!), and, at the moment, a Christmas tree made up entirely of library books. (There is a box next to it for little kids to submit guesses of how many books are in the tree.) I spent a very nice hour perusing the selection there before checking out a few movies for the long holiday coming up. (Oh, and more fun: I was able to talk to the librarian about returns in Icelandic.)
Following a quick stop at the post office in the mall (much, much less crowded than the one downtown), I headed over to the pool, bought myself a ticket in Icelandic (it’s a different town, so the Reykjavík pool cards don’t work there), and had a very nice swim and soak in the hot pots. The pool is small, but the facilities are very nice, including the spacious steam bath with a big window and the large hot pot with massage jets at one end. And it’s nice doing laps in a seawater pool, too–you’re a bit more buoyant and it also just makes the experience of lap-swimming seem a little more decadent and spa-like.
All in all, a very nice little excursion.