So of all the far flung places that the US sends diplomats, how many of you thought that Reykjavik would be one of them? Exactly. But today’s new installment of Notes from the Field sheds a little light on what life without much light (at times) near the pole is like, and what exactly goes on in those hot springs they keep featuring in the Iceland Air ads. And if you leave this post feeling like you need to get in on the Iceland action, the Taste of Iceland is going on in DC this week featuring food and films from this nippy tundra!
Current Post: Reykjavik, Iceland
Three words to describe your current post: quiet, picturesque, quirky.
Morning walk along the fjord, lunch in a quirky café in hip downtown Reykjavik, shopping at a small designer’s studio, a soak in a hot pot, dinner at the lobster house. Next day: Late morning coffee at Kex or another one of Reykjavik’s dozens of delicious cafes, hikes at the waterfalls and a long scenic drive to the Geyser, dinner at home or an evening show at the new Harpa concert hall, and late night viewing of the Northern Lights.
Biggest adventure at post?
We drove along a desolate pebble road this side of nowhere until it ended and then (with two small children in tow) hiked for an hour until we looked into the deep blue crevices and touched the edge of a glacier. (Or, knowing that my children are served—and happily eat—horsemeat as part of their school lunches).
When did you realize you were far from home?
Winter Solstice 2011. Four. Hours. Of. Daylight. And what little light did shine never grew beyond a soft pale pink, like dusk.
Making sure our bright, warm, and modern artwork is prominently displayed near the front door so when I come in from the dark, grey outside, I’m instantly reminded of warmer southern climates (I’m a native California girl). My favorite pieces are a beach scene by photographer Judy Gigliotti, birches set against a hot pink background by Lisa Congdon, and a print by Susan Haskell of the Pacific Coast Highway.
1. My parka 2. My happy light 3. My bouquet of bright pink Mexican paper flowers.
Daylight in the winter and darkness in the summer.
Icelandic sweater, skinny jeans, and my tall red Hunter rain boots (also colorful tights whenever I can—so I feel native).
You’re having guests over on Saturday night, what’s on the menu?
I always fall back to cooking Mediterranean-ish, no matter where we live. Last Saturday we had Greek Lemon Soup, Wild Rice Salad with Ginger-Orange Dressing, Mixed Greens Salad, Moroccan Chicken, and Italian Pine Nut Torte with vanilla ice cream.
Dream post for next assignment? Why?
Washington, DC. We’ve been abroad for almost seven consecutive years now and it’s time for us to get back to the US for a spell. Then, Rome, Paris or London, because really, a cushy Euro post in a world class city, wouldn’t that be lovely. . . sigh.
One thing you wished someone had told you before arriving?
While it is only a 4.5 hour flight to New York, it is still very, very far away
You can check out more of Erica’s Iceland adventures, or her previous post in Moscow on her blog – here are her three favorite posts:
Panties in a Perihod
Downward Dog and Dobryj Dyen: My Yoga Class in Moscow
Going Dark: Winter Solstice in Iceland