Showing posts from May, 2021

More Reykjavík: Laugavegur and the 'burbs

  Laugavegur My Reykjavík researches continued along Laugavegur, which is Reykjavík’s smartest shopping street. Laug means ‘hot spring’, so this was the road from Ingólfur’s original Norse settlement to the geothermal spring, which is now a swimming pool with hot tubs near Borgartún.  It became the route women took to do their washing, and presumably a crowded thoroughfare on Saturday, or laugardagur, when everyone went off for a bath. It’s still a hot place on Saturday night, after my bedtime, since most of the trendy clubs and bars are on this street. The trendiest of these is Kaffibarinn (see above). This is a small metal town house, painted bright red, a few yards up Bergstadastraeti from Laugavegur. It is easily identifiable by the London Underground sign hung above the door. It has an awesome reputation: the place to go on a weekend night for music and violent dancing. It’s supposed to be or have been part-owned by Damon Albarn of Blur, but it’s hard to pin that factoid down: m

Checking out Reykjavík, walking where my characters walk

  I checked out Reykjavík. I was looking for places people might live, places people might meet, and the odd place someone might get stabbed or shot. It’s a bit morbid, but it’s my job.  I was to revisit all the spots I saw on this first trip many times over the following ten years. In May 2008, the global financial crash was just beginning its downward lurch. It was to hit Iceland particularly hard over the following twelve months. Parliament Square I started where Ingólfur Arnarson started, in Austurvöllur Square, which is a couple of hundred yards south of the bay and in the middle of what is now known as ‘Downtown’.  Austurvöllur is a bit of a mouthful, so let’s call it the Parliament Square, since Parliament is on one side. If you think Reykjavík is small for a capital city now, this is where you realize how seriously small it used to be a hundred years ago.  The square is a patch of green with a statue of a politician in the middle, some scrappy grass and daffodils and a few ben