The last few days have provided several windows into the vitality, traditions, and intellectual energy of Icelandic society. Let me start with something of a great Reykjavik tradition. I had the pleasure of joining a few of my Icelandic colleagues from the Embassy on a trip to Bæjarins beztu pylsur. I have to say that it was one of the best hot dogs I have ever had, but the best part was experiencing a tradition that citizens of Reykjavik enjoy: a walk on a chilly day, standing in line to get “eina með öllu” and standing in a circle with friends having a conversation while enjoying one of Reykjavik´s finest. My only regret was that I didn´t have a second hot dog; next time.
|Ambassador Arreaga with Tómas Jónsson|
I also had the pleasure of attending the opening reception and initial screenings of the Kvikar myndir hátíð. This event was organized by Kinosmiðja (a grass-roots organization that promotes experimental and avant-garde filmmaking) in conjunction with the Reykjavik Art Museum and with our Embassy’s support. I must say that the films were provocative but the most interesting part was sharing these movies with the audience. Having also participated in the Reykjavik Film Festival, I can say that the film scene in Iceland is alive and thriving.
On a more serious note, my wife Mary and I had a wonderful opportunity to engage with two Icelandic fiction writers at a local café. We talked about so many things (the impact of the economic crisis here and in the U.S., the publishing industry, a bit of history, the Icelandic literary scene, and much more). It was one of our most memorable experiences to date and one that we want to repeat.
Art is such a broad term and it covers so many areas that I know we will be very busy exploring it throughout our stay in Iceland. It was a heavy week of art, deep discussions, and some Icelandic “soul food.“ We decided to take it easy this weekend with a bit of window shopping and coffee on Laugavegur. We needed a rest before our next experience: Akureyri