While my friends back home are battling heat and smoke, here in Isafjordur the climate is a bit different: it has been raining and snowing (a bit) since about 4:00 p.m. yesterday. That’s led to a quiet day of visiting museums, the library, and a bakery and coffee shop that has been open since 1871. In a delightful cultural juxtaposition after seeing fishing gear used in the 1200s and a collection of accordions, I might go see the film Straight Outta Compton tonight.
Isafjordur itself is a delightful town. Wandering through its quiet downtown (it seems the locals have sensibly retreated indoors today), I saw a lot of the signs of life in Iceland: a bookstore, coffee shops and bakeries everywhere, and the occasional brave person dressed for weather like this. Hoping to keep my Camino pack untouched, I left the poncho inside, but if the promised sun does not appear tomorrow, I might have to reconsider.
I haven’t been able to get a picture yet, as the weather hasn’t permitted it, but the view looking down into Isafjordur is one not to be missed. The town rests on a spit of land inside a fjord, with the hotels and downtown seeming to, from a distance, float on the water. I’ve borrowed a photo from Wikipedia to try to show what I mean.
Each time I visit a home in Iceland, I’m powerfully struck by the idea of simplicity. Most are quite small by American standards, and ingeniously manage to fit the necessities of life and the essential gear for the outdoors inside. It’s certainly a reminder that my effort to simplify has a long way to go. Of course, to simplify might necessitate buying a great deal of clever Ikea furniture, and I’m not sure how to embrace that complex moral decision just yet. 🙂