I celebrated New Year’s Eve in Kópavogur and I’ve had an amazing night. First I met some couchsurfers in Hótel Frón (two were Dutch actually) and together we drove to a couchsurfer’s place, located on a hill with a view all over town. It was weird to see the amount of fireworks that was fired before midnight. It has been explained to me that the money earned by the sales of the fireworks goes to the rescue team volunteers. That’s the reason why people buy a lot of fireworks, because they support a good cause at the same time.
In Iceland there’s a tradition of having bonfires all over town on New Year’s Eve. Our group went to a big bonfire as well, which was really nice and I had interesting conversations. At 23:00 there were as many fireworks in the sky as there would be in the Netherlands at 0:00. And at midnight it was just a crazy spectacle of colours and sounds. Because of the view from the hill we could see all the fireworks in Reykjavík too, an amazing location to be at. The weather was great: Almost no wind and 5 °C. 🙂
After having enjoyed all the fireworks we went downtown with the whole group. At first we went to a bar called Prikið, but I didn’t like it. After that we went to Dillon, which was really great. They played good music like Jefferson Airplane and The Cure. Met some nice people this evening, and all of a sudden it was already 6:00 in the morning!
On the first of January I contacted one of the girls I had met on New Year’s Eve and we decided to go looking for the Northern lights in the evening. We had planned to walk along the coast to the west side of the city. Unfortunately the wind was too strong for an evening stroll, and we didn’t have a plan B. We decided to try hitchhiking out of the city centre to a dark spot somewhere on the road to Keflavík. When we were looking for a hitchhiking spot we could already see the Northern lights in the sky! But the city lights were blocking the view. We got picked up by a young girl in a huge car. She said she knew a place where it was dark and that there was a good chance we could see the Northern lights there. She dropped us off somewhere on a hill on the outskirts and drove away. Because I was so excited I forgot one of my hitchhiking rules: Always make sure that you can get back from where you’re dropped off.
Unfortunately this wasn’t a good spot at all. There were a lot of lights and a hellish wind was blowing. We could actually see the Northern lights, but not as good as I hoped for. I didn’t manage to take good pictures either. They were still very pretty! We could see a very long stroke of vivid green in the sky, slowly shifting its shape. I wanted to go to a better spot, but because we got dropped off at a point quite far from the Hringbraut, we had to walk for a long time before we reached a place where we could start hitchhiking. We decided it was too late to go somewhere new. Luckily we didn’t even have to put our thumbs in the air to hitchhike back. Someone stopped for us without us letting him know that we needed a ride, and he brought us safely to Hlemmur. 🙂
I love the people here! I also love the fact that they put small pieces of lava on the icy roads and sidewalks to prevent people and cars from sliding. Another random thing I’m happy about is that I found some really nice vegan products today!