Iceland Again

We decided last year that a winter holiday may be a good idea – I can confirm it was! I’d been to Iceland before, and it was well worth the return trip.

We had a week and spent it exploring Reykjavik, and the south west area of the island. We had snow and sunshine (sometimes at the same time it seemed). And it was just fabulous. We did the touristy things like the Blue Lagoon, which was busy – though due to the temperature difference between water and air, the amount of steam meant you couldn’t see anyone else. Plus some of the museums in Reykjavik – namely the Settlement Museum and the National.

Obviously, yarn was purchased again… I acquired more Plütolopi (keep an eye out for a new wrap pattern later on in the year), plus bulky lopi and some rather lovely mohair blend. These were picked up from the Hand Knitters Association store on Skólavörðustígur, and from Storkurrin on Laugavegur. Well worth a visit. I also picked up a lopi cardigan from the Association store, which is my new favourite thing to wear (and so very, very warm).

Venturing out of the city, we did the Game of Thrones tour, and sledged through a small section of the Mid-Atlantic ridge… which was somewhat unexpected; plus the Golden Circle tour to Thingvellir, Gulfoss and Geyser.

We also did a highly entertaining brewery “tour” through Grayline, which turned out to be more of a “drink-lots-of-beer-and-laugh-at-comedy-routine” sort of thing. Highly unexpected and well-recommended.

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Plus it was an inspiration… if you’ve seen the post on the new braids, you’ll notice that these have Icelandic-inspired names. The colours of Iceland are varied and interesting, and they provide the perfect starting point for the braid collection.

Bring on the Braids

Braids

These are a new addition to my stock, custom-blended tops; these have been produced specially for me and are produced here in the UK. Each braid is 100g, and I have small spun samples of each of the bases to view.

The colour ways are inspired by Iceland following my recent trip there.

Nootka: Merino, Shetland and Soybean. The colour way is inspired by the purple hues of the Icelandic Lupin seen during the warmer months.

Gulfoss: Merino, Corriedale and Tussah Silk. A winter-inspired one, the waterfalls at Gulfoss partially freeze during the colder seasons and the ice takes on different hues – including some lovely turquoise shades.

Hekla: Merino, Shetland and Bamboo. One of the most active volcanoes in Iceland, the deep red of this colour way picks up on one of the shades associated with volcanic eruptions.

There will be limited quantities of these shades available during the festival, but all the colour ways can be custom-ordered and mailed following the festival (allow 2-3 weeks for delivery).

Icelandic Adventures VII – The Random

Reykjavik is an awesome city to just wander around. I was particularly taken with a lot of the street art visible all over the place.

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What really caught my attention though was this!

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This picture was taken in early February 2014. Stephen West / Westknits posted this in late March – the gloves have been joined by a shoe!

Icelandic Adventures VI – The Yarn Shops

Obviously I visited a few yarn shops…

 

Storkurrin

Right on the main street, in the shopping arcade above the Bonus supermarket. Head up the stairs directly opposite the entrance and hello yarn! Sells a good range of the local Icelandic yarns and overseas imports, notably Brooklyn Tweed Loft and Shelter, plus plenty Rowan and other recognisable brands.

 

Litla Prjónabúðin

Approximately 30 minutes walk from the centre, follow the main shopping street for ease. Again a good selection of yarns, including the local and the not-so-local. Carries the Snaeldan Faroese yarns (I picked up some of the 2ply fingering and worsted weights). Also has Dye for Yarns! And some great buttons (too many to choose from) plus some other good knitting supplies and accessories. Well worth the walk (even if it snows).

 

Handknitters Association of Iceland

Lopi heaven! Carries the full range of the Icelandic yarns – Plütolopi, Lett-lopi, Einband, Alafoss. Plus all the pattern books and some other local yarns.

Many tourist shops also sell the lopi yarns but be aware that many of these have had the prices marked up – especially on the kits.

 

 

Icelandic Adventures IV – Whales!

We were both lucky and unlucky with this. Our first tour – we saw nothing – 3 hours on a boat in the damp and cold in the North Atlantic in early February. However, since nothing was seen (bar the fin of a Harbour Porpoise), free repeat trip vouchers were provided. So we got a second attempt, and what an attempt!

We hadn’t actually left the harbour (in fact we were still in the middle of a safety briefing) when a pod of Killer Whales appeared directly before us.

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With at least 8 individuals (more likely 9-10, but they were had to count!), including a full grown male, adult females, juveniles and an infant! We followed the pod for at least 2 1/2 hours.

Very, very lucky indeed!

Whale Watching, Reykjavik 2014 from Aphaia on Vimeo.

 

Apologies for the audio on this, it was windy and everyone on board was a touch excited!

 

Icelandic Adventures III – Sightseeing in Reykjavik and the South West

This post is more of a list, but these places are well worth a look if you find yourself in Reykjavik and the surrounding area.

In Reykjavik:

Around the SW:

For reference – the website I Heart Reykjavik is well worth a look, and she now offers walking tours in Reykjavik!

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Icelandic Adventures II – Eating Out

If you like fish, Reykjavik has some great restaurants, and even if you don’t there is plenty to choose from. We were extremely well placed in the city centre and had an excellent variety of places to choose from every night.

These are a small selection of some of the places we ate:

Tapas Barinn The set menus are extremely good and extremely large!

Grillmarkaðurinn Reservations really recommended, especially on a weekend. We got lucky and got a table with booking.  Fab wine list and food was astonishingly good. Pricey but well worth it. I’d go back tomorrow.

Krua Thai Cheap and cheerful, good range of options with eat in and take out options.

Hornið Italianiate option, pizza was very tasty and prices reasonable.

O Sushi – The Train Went here for lunch one day. Similar in style to YoSushi! We didn’t see any menu to explain what we were eating but managed very well without one. Absolutely delicious – the sesame salmon was beautiful. Prices extremely reasonable.

Grillhúsid Burger bar, with big range of choices. Even Mum (who finds burgers quite filling) managed to clear her plate. Good chips too.