áramótablogg: ringing in 2016 in reykjavík

It’s 2016 and I have now rung in the past two years here in Reykjavík. Last year, I arrived back in Iceland the morning of the 30th, which means I spent the day severely jet-lagged and did not so much appreciate the constant barrage of fireworks that kept me awake until 8 AM. This year, thankfully, was a very different story. I celebrated the old year and rang in the new alongside my Icelandic family and friends new and old.

In the morning I carefully assembled and decorated the champagne cake I had made the night before and helped Ásta clean up the house. Then I headed out to Vínbúðin (the state-run liquor store) to grab some last-minute libations. The store was only open until 2.00 and we arrived around 1.45 to find a line out the door. I have to say, I’ve never waited in line at the liquor store before, but hey, there’s a first time for everything. On the way out, I heard a tourist arguing with the security guard that it was only two minutes past two and he should really let her in and I commented to my friend that we should have bought extra wine to sell to desperate tourists. Business idea for next year, I suppose.

I headed home to bake another dessert and help Ásta with other last-minute preparations. Around six, guests started to arrive for dinner. We had a full house – an interesting blend of family, Snorris, and a couple friends.

It was practically a Snorri alumni New Year’s party, as there were five of us former Snorris: Erin (2013), Stefán (2011) and I, who all live here, and Other Erin (2013) and Mallory (2011) who were visiting from the States.

12487258_1010270689033594_7966876772202742954_o

Of course Ásta’s family was in attendance, including her father Kristján, stepdaughter Elena and Elena’s boyfriend Ketill. My friend Victor and Stefán’s friend Sam rounded out the guest list.

classy black and white new year's eve
classy black and white new year’s eve
less classy new year's eve
less classy new year’s eve

Ásta and the other Snorri girls cooked dinner, I provided dessert, and there was no shortage of wine.

My second-ever attempt at champagne cake, inspired by my favorite cake from Konditorei in Salem, was an undeniable success, at least according to the tiniest critic. Nói was the first one to sneak a taste and he seemed to enjoy it.

champagne cake before
champagne cake before
champagne cake after
champagne cake after
You're looking at about $4 worth of California raspberries. I sincerely wish I was kidding.
You’re looking at about $4 worth of California raspberries. I sincerely wish I was kidding.

After dinner and dessert, we gathered around the TV to watch áramótaskaup, an annual comedy show that pokes fun at the year’s happenings. It was quite rewarding to see that I understood almost all the dialogue this year, although a few of the cultural references still went past me. Most of the things I expected to see were included, such as Justin Bieber, Naked Almar in a box, and IceHot1.

DSC03878
gathered around the TV to watch áramótaskaupið

Áramótaskaup airs from 10.30-11.30, and this hour is practically a holy time. The sound of fireworks all but ceases, and the only people out and about are tourists, as all the locals have tucked in somewhere to watch the show. At 11.30, though, the noise picks up again, culminating, of course, at midnight. Although to be honest, it’s kind of hard to tell when the clock strikes twelve, because there are pretty much constant fireworks from 11.40-12.15. I actually think it makes midnight rather anticlimactic. In any case, we all wandered up to Hallgrímskirkja to experience the insanity. Victor and I found Katleen and her friend and the four of us went back to my house and hung out for a couple hours, finally succumbing to exhaustion around 3.00. The greatest gift of the new year was that I was actually able to sleep that night.

I have a bright pink point-and-shoot camera, so no fireworks photos from me, I’m afraid. Perhaps I will borrow some from Addi to add to this post later though.

All in all, it was a lovely way to say goodbye to 2015 and welcome 2016 in a beautiful place and in good company.

Gleðilegt nýtt ár og takk fyrir það gamla!

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