Monday 26 October 1998--Arose shortly before 7:00 and lit out for Callanish, hoping to catch sunrise. On the way, I saw the cloudtops turning pink, and pushed the car along the single-track road. Arrived with a few minutes to spare, and shot the stones by the first rays of sunrise. A rainbow appeared behind the stones, and as I tried to capture it, I remembered: it's my birthday!
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Sunday 26 October 2014--I botched the birthday thing this year. In years when it falls on a weekend, it's the weekend the clocks change in the UK, giving me an extra hour to celebrate (or recover). Iceland doesn't bother with Summer Time--in the middle of summer, it really doesn't matter whether the sun sets and rises at midnight and 3:00am, or 1:00am and 4:00am.
So I don't get an extended birthday this year, but I do get a sunny one. It's a perfect morning for ascending the tower of Hallgrķmskirkja. After, we take a walk to the east of town, hoping to see some more interesting neighborhoods. We find ourselves instead walking along wide sterile avenues, looking at car dealerships and dour Nordic apartment blocks. Even on a sunny day, it's kind of depressing. The walk is partially redeemed when we cut through a park back toward the older part of town, with a view of the backside of Hallgrķmskirkja.
We have lunch at Café Babalś, then have a look around Harpa, the cultural center. Then we walk around to the far side of the harbor to see an art installation called Žufa. It looks like a half-buried giant tennis ball with an outhouse on top. A very narrow path spirals up to the summit, where we can see that the structure is in fact a replica of a fish-drying shed. I suppose some sort of statement is being made about Icelanders' place in the world. Or something.
We have a couple of pints at Microbar, and then have dinner at Nora Magasin again. The proprietor comes by our table and chats with us--after three nights, we're regulars, I guess. Having been recognized as valued customers, we choose to spend the rest of our last evening on the road there.