Photo Highlight: Winter Wonderland in Hofsós

the icy view from inside the summerhouse… er, winterhouse rather

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The Tale of the Traveling Freewaters Sandals… coming soon!

Eli from Freewaters sent me my second ‘installment’ of sandals, from the 2013 line coming out in January, and it was a little ironic to open a box of 5 shiny new flip flops while a windstorm blew outside with -2` temperatures in Reykjavik. I realized I wouldn’t get much use out of them here, at least not now, but I have a trip coming up in December to Morocco and Portugal to look forward to. Although, I am flying with some (dreaded) cheap airlines with all sorts of carry on baggage restrictions, and doubt Ill pack all 5 pairs with me. How to choose which ones to take and which ones to leave? My goal has sort of been to get as much mileage out of each pair in as many sandal-friendly places as possible, letting each pair tell a story from the wear and tear of all my steps.

freewaters sandals

Then, I had this marvelous idea – do you remember the movie ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,’ based on the novel by Ann Brashares? Why not have one pair of sandals travel between travelers and us correspond among eachother about where they went and what happened in them? It could be the backpackhers hood of the traveling sandals… or something like that… Im going to keep a logbook of everyone that wears them, where they go and how far they walk, until the traveler who is unlucky enough to see their last day finally buries them. Then Ill be sure to write a blog about it.

the Marigot harbour, where my Capetowns retired in February

From my first few pairs of sandals, most are still in perfect shape, minus a few scratches here and there, but I buried my only pair of Freewaters in St. Martin in the French West Indies. I was standing in Marigot harbour, rushing to pay for my ferry ticket to St. Barthelemy, and as I ran to board the ferry, my right foot Cape Town sandal tore between the toes. I stood there for a lamenting second, feeling sad and sorry for the perfectly good left shoe I now had to leave behind too, and then slipped them both off and jumped on the ferry bare foot. As we pushed off, I saw the ticket validating guy stroll casually over to the pair of shoes, pick up the right one, and start to try to fix it. He looked up at me and waved at me with my broken shoe, and yelled something in creole french I don’t remember. But I yelled back, ‘Good Luck, you can keep them!’

Eli sent me a new pair of Cape Towns, and they will become the Traveling Freewaters Sandals, since those were the shoes who made it the furthest, and so far, created the best stories. I already have one traveler lined up to break them in; my friend Solveig from Iceland is taking them to Brazil for Carnival in Feburary. She gets back in the beginning of March, and will hand them back over to me. Then I’m thinking of taking them skiing in the Swiss Alps (to wear inside the saunas of course) or wine tasting in Italy, but they’re always up for grabs again between trips. All you need is to have shoe size 37-38, have a trip planned to somewhere flip-flop friendly, and send me your name, mailing address, and promise to return them with an accompanying travel story. So, if you’re going somewhere now or before February, or after March, send me a message!

(… or you can always buy your own pair http://www.freewaters.com . Learn their whole story at http://www.projectfreewaters.org )

 

Iceland Airwaves 2012

Prins Pólo perform at Listasafn for Iceland Airwaves 2012

Sóley, the ´must-see´ artist

This was my first Airwaves, despite it starting in 1999, since I’m usually making excuses to travel outside of Iceland once the cold and dark starts to set in. The weather this weekend was definitely cold, with crazy windstorms on Friday and Saturday, that blew me over once, into oncoming traffic on the street once, and otherwise just pushed me around and made me look like a drunk trying to walk in a straight line. At least other countries issue hurricane warnings, but we just keep on going as if this is totally normal weather… which, I guess, it is, but not the safest. It would have been a hassle to wait outside in some of the long queues, but with a little luck and random chance, a friend of a friend from LA came to the festival with a VIP ticket +1, and crowned me the other darling. With the “darling” pass, we could jump the lines, in and out of all the official venues, which got us into a few places like the Reykjavik Art Museum in-time to see Sóley, one of the heavily advertised ‘don’t miss’ artists.

Lay Low at the church

The festival started on Halloween, and we fell in love with Myrra Rós´ voice at the Deutsche bar. Then there were 3 artists in a row that were on the top of my list to see, and from 10-1 we enjoyed Mammút, Sykur, and Ásgeir Trausti (I love him). On Thursday, we also saw Phantogram at Listasafn. We checked out Lára Runars and the Leaves, then settled in at Harpa to see Dikta, Bloodgroup and Of Monsters and Men. It was our most conservative night, since I had a midterm Friday morning, but on Friday we saw music from 4pm to 4am at probably 10 different venues, off and on venue. Highlights where Retro Stefson in the big white tent behind Hressó, Lay Low in Fríkirkjan (a beautiful church beside the pond), Mugison at Netagerði, and FM Belfast at Harpa. In between we bounced around for a little variety, listening to some death metal rock at Amsterdam, became hypnotised by Valgeir Sigurðsson´s classical violin at Iðno, and squeezed into Kaffibarinn to listen to Retrobot, an electrical-indie rock bank with a dash of 80´s vibe.  I also saw Ásgeir Trausti play again, in the smallest venue of Airwaves – a little red summerhouse big enough for 5 people in the middle of Ingolfstorg.

Kira Kira

On Saturday, our line up wishlist was tightest, with no time between bands (sometimes even an overlap) and each one in a different venue. Prins Pólo at Listasafn, Beni Hemm Hemm at Silfurbeg, Kira Kira at Kaldalón, Ásgeir Trausti in Norðurljós, I break Horses at Iðno, and finally Gus Gus to finish at Harpa. Kira Kira was incredible, I don´t even know where to start to explain her music, but the guitarist played kneeling down most of the time, the celloist was wearing a sweater that gave her wings everytime she bowed the cello, a lizard man played an instrument I have no idea what to call, and the singer Kristín Björk swayed around barefoot showing off her super soprano voice every once in a while. For Ásgeir Trausti´s set, I managed to get front and center in the audience, and stood under him with googly eyes wishing he would just open his eyes once to look back… but he never does.

Ásgeir Trausti at Harpa

Sigur Rós´ amazing stage

The last day of the festival was slow but cosy, and I managed finally to get my greedy hands on a Sigur Rós ticket and stood awestruck by the bigger-than-life-sized visuals surrounding the stage. I heard Ylja at Eymundsson, a symphony play at Munnharpan, My Brother is Pale at Dillon, and, of course, Ásgeir Trausti one last time. He sounds the same everytime he preforms, and sings the same songs, always with his eyes closed, and barely says anything other than ‘takk’… its amazing how shy he can be after being the most played Airwaves artist of the 2012 festival.