Friday, January 6, 2017


High noon in Ísafjörður today

Today is þrettándinn, the last day of Christmas, celebrated with elf dances, bonfires and fireworks. The festivities rotate every other year between Ísafjörður and Bolungarvík and this year it’s in the latter. As luck may have it, I have a ride to Bolungarvík today but Helga and I are there quite early for a swim and a bite to eat at Einarshúsið. This place is the only restaurant in Bolungarvík (not counting the food you can get at the gas station) and it’s only open for 3 hours a week in the winter, on Fridays from 6-9 pm. It’s the highlight of the week here sometimes in the sleepy Westfjords, at least for me. Helga and I like to go there for dinner after a swim. They only have one meal on the menu. Bennabítar (“Benni bites”. Benni is the owner, but I don’t know if he really bites). These consist of chicken wings, chicken wings with fries, or just fries. At most, one other table is occupied. This is life in the Westfjords. I love it.

We decide not to wait for the festivities as we’re quite tired already, but as we drive by we can see the little elves all bundled up ready to dance!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

The day starts out clear and still. Everything is peaceful and white after the snowstorm yesterday. By evening though it starts to snow like crazy again. G and I head to the traditional bonfire at 8:30 pm. We get there just in time to see them light it and we stay to the bitter end. A small group of adults sings Christmas carols. 

There’s a small fireworks show. The young guys enjoy throwing gasoline on the fire. Kids are throwing snowballs at the fire or just rolling around in the snow, or playing with sparklers. Wish I had some marshmallows. By the way, the Icelandic word for those is sykurpúði – sugar pillows! 

We head back home to watch the traditional Áramótaskaup on TV at 10:30 pm and head out just before midnight to watch the fireworks. It’s still snowing and there’s not much wind. A perfect night for fireworks! We head up the far edge of the avalanche wall and watch the fireworks over the town. All the craziness below and the solitude where we stand, with snow falling heavily on our heads. 

Gleðilegt nýtt ár!

Last hours of daylight in 2016