do you love iceland, but always feel like an idiot when trying to pronounce reykjavík? (or any other icelandic word for that matter?)
well, me too. i would love to visit someday, but i was never sure when it would be best to go - deep in the dead of winter to get the furthest experience from my own reality, or at a more comfortable time when i could more easily enjoy iceland's offerings?
my question may have been answered by an old post on shortcut, where i discovered that the first day of summer is actually a national holiday in iceland. it always falls on a thursday somewhere between april 19-24, and descriptions of it sort of bring to mind our fourth of july celebrations, but perhaps with a bit less organization. everyone just gets outside to celebrate the coming of summer and the end of winter, and there's even some exchanging of presents, i hear. it sounds like it is a holiday that is especially meaningful to kids, and the shortcut post even mentions some impromptu parades starting up... i love the idea of a casual parade - a group of people who are excited enough to start their own show and just march through the streets, collecting friends as they go. also, sort of akin to the usa's groundhog day, there is an old legend predicting that if the night before the first day of summer is freezing cold then the summer to come will be great.
if you are planning a trip to iceland, here's a blog by a jared, a former bostonian now living the icy expatriate dream in reykjavík (who also happens to be the author of the shortcut post). jared mentioned recently that the ethereal indie all-stars sigur rós will be playing a free outdoor concert at klambratún park (aka miklatún) in downtown reykjavík on july 30, 2006. awesome! if you're going, please do report back and share how it was! i have to say that when i saw them about 5 years ago in los angeles at the john anson ford theatre (a great venue - outdoors and lined with tall twirling cypress trees), it was a transformative, indescribable experience - one of the best shows i've ever seen.
more iceland links:
- reykjavik's official tourist website
- icelandair (they always seem to be running some sort of promotion)
iceland airwaves a music festival to be held in various clubs and venues in downtown reykjavik october 18th - 22nd, featuring the kaiser chiefs, wolf parade, islands, and love is all, alongside lots of icelandic bands and solo performers and djs.