As is always the case, all good things must come to an end (although most would argue 2016 needed to hurry up and end). I’m sipping mint tea made from fresh mint leaves and wiping off sausage roll crumbs from my bosom while on my very long layover in Amsterdam. My original plan when I booked this flight was to stroll around the city, eat a meal at a cafe and find my way back to the airport. But, I’m beat. The idea of bundling up and finding my way around another city was just too much for me, so instead I’ve tooled around the airport, which is actually a lovely place to lose oneself in, bought some cheese, chatted with friends, and now I’m taking the time to write all about my last day of 2016, which topped 2016’s birthday — another fun filled, firework-laden night!
Reykjavik is an awesome place to say goodbye and hello! Icelanders stock up on fireworks and go all out. Just like in Copenhagen the fireworks show is put on by the inhabitants not the government, and believe you me these viking decedents love their fire. Holy hell it was amazing. Joe noticed that the police helped folks with the larger boomers, keeping people at a relatively safe place away from take off — although I got plenty of ash in my eye. We have no idea where we’ll be this time next year, but it’s going to be hard to top this new year’s.
First off at around 8:30 p.m. bonfires are lit all over the country. We went to the big one on Ægisíða, near where we were staying (about a 30 minute walk). The bonfire goes back to pagan days, and it’s either a way to burn off last year’s stuff or light the way for elves and the new, or just a chance to burn up shit while the kids play with sparklers. Either way it worked for us! Families and tourists all gather around and bond with the coming and passing of another year. Reminded me (a little, our fires weren’t this massive) of the cul de sac bonfires we used to have near my place every New Year’s Eve.
Best part is the fire wasn’t the only thing putting on a show. Right behind us the Northern Lights danced away, letting us know the skies too were whooping up the death and birth of time. I cannot believe we spent a week in remote areas looking for the northern lights and boom they show up in a city while fireworks and bonfires pollute the sky with light and smoke. That’s Iceland for you — sure read the guide books (and by all means do pay attention to the warnings! they’re legit!), but Iceland is gonna do what she wants to do when and where she wants to do it. She is not a land who plays by tourist rules.
The lights arched over our fire, way out to sea. They flared and twirled, but since I’m the laziest photographer in the world I did not have my tripod and DSLR on me (hey that shit is heavy). So, while I’m pleased to have captured the green, you don’t see the bits of purple and the seductive dance they weaved. The video on my camera just couldn’t capture it. But, I worked up a sweat keeping my arm high and still while clicking stills away.
Obviously Joe and I had a blast. It was magical, and we didn’t want to pull ourselves away, but eventually the lights dissipated and we found our way back to our part of town to prep up for the great big fireworks display (although they had been going off all day).
So we may have hit a pub or two… and an ice skating rink.
Another big tradition amongst natives is to gather around a t.v. and watch an annual comedy show that is loaded with comedic skits. The entire city calms down to almost a standstill while close friends and family members feast, laugh and watch the big show.
Looks like the only people on the streets during show are tourists, folks coming back out after the show is over. As for those fireworks they were still blasting away midnight last night, and are probably still booming away today.
Joe and I ate dinner at our apartment and watched some of the show. We were happy to be able to figure some of it out (thanks to some English thrown in and good ole fashioned fart jokes — apparently everyone understands those!). And then we were out in the thick of it kissing 2016 good bye.
New Years Day we headed over to Keflavik where we walked around the harbor and into a giant’s cave.
But mostly New Years Day was bittersweet for us because within a few hours we’d both be off to our corners of the world, but OUR countdown begins today. Seven more months, and we’re back to being together full time — lol for better or worse.
Some daytime Reykjavik pics for you
And, my flight is getting ready to board. Yay me I land early tomorrow and go straight to work from the airport. I’m so not looking forward to how exhausted and crappy looking I’ll be. But, come on 2017. Let’s see what you’ve got in store for us!