Reykjavík Winter: The Very Best Of

I meant to write this blog a week ago, but I encountered a bit of difficulty. The main topic of this blog is the Mumford and Sons concert I went to, but here’s the thing: I’m still not entirely sure it actually happened. Do you ever experience something so unlikely and meaningful that, even as it is happening around you, a part of you isn’t convinced it’s real? That’s what happened to me. What are the actual odds of being front row at a concert put on by one of my favorite bands (and the only one I hadn’t seen live) in the middle of a north Atlantic gale on an isolated rock practically in the Arctic Circle where I only ended up through a series of chances and accidents because it “just kinda felt right”?

But apparently that is exactly what happened, at least based on corroboration from Perry and Blerina and the video footage on my phone.


The day got off to a shaky start when, after a restless night of what could barely be considered sleep, I got the terribly sad news that Koda, my dad’s cousin’s golden, had passed. He was a very good boy with an innocent sense of humor, and we miss him every day.

Rest easy, Koda Bear.

Adding to the general turmoil of the day was the shit weather that only got worse as the day went on. By the time we walked to the venue, winds were clocking in at around 40 mph and the freezing rain all but lacerated what little skin we were unable to cover up. It was, in short, an ordeal. We did make it to the concert venue alive and relatively unscathed, although quite damp, and we were early enough to get very close to the stage. As close as you can get, in fact, without being a performer, security guard, or roadie.


I don’t want to bore you with the details of the concert, because unless you were there concerts aren’t much fun to hear about. The important thing is that it was amazing, they played my two favorites (The Cave and Ditmas) back to back, and during Ditmas Marcus Mumford walked through the crowd. Being right at the barricade and positioned directly in front of Mr. Mumford when he’s onstage, we were situated at the opportune place for him to get back over the barricade to the stage. Which he did, almost knocking me over in the process. I touched Marcus Mumford, you guys. That happened.

Later they brought out a microphone to the very front of the stage, which the entire band gathered around with a guitar and a banjo to do some acoustic songs. At this point I made eye contact with Marcus Mumford and he winked at me. That also happened. It was a very big day for me.

Apparently, I am an ideal concert-goer in the eyes of security, because one nice guard handed me both a guitar pick that several people were clamoring for and a setlist that no one was aware he had. I am very grateful to him for these souvenirs of a night that may never feel real to me, but is no less of a treasured half-memory for it. I just really can’t believe my luck.


So that was two weekends ago. Last weekend, my boyfriend had a friend from back home come visit, and I got to tag along as he showed her around Reykjavík. (Un)luckily for her, Charley showed up at the exact same time as winter, so when we went to the lake in Hafnarfjörður, what was once a lovely autumn landscape became a cloudy grey-white winterscape.

So that’s why they call it “Iceland.”

The snow didn’t really let up much all weekend, but we managed to stick mostly to indoor activities, excepting another trip to the top of Hallgrímskirkja. The snow at the lake was so lovely, and the aerial view of Reykjavík from the church’s tower is so picturesque, we could only assume that combining those two elements would be breathtaking to behold. We were not wrong.


Yes, the days are getting shorter and darkness prevails for most of the day. I am given to understand that many people have a problem with this, but I am living my best life here in the northern latitudes. The best part is that the sought-after “golden hour” that turns good photography into great photography a) lasts for ages and b) hits really early in the day, so it’s not hard to catch. I think the results speak for themselves.

The rest of the weekend was filled with museums, specifically the National Museum and the Settlement Museum. I had already been to the National Museum, and will apparently be going again this week for class, but the Settlement Museum was new. It’s an exhibition built around the excavated foundations of a Settlement-era house, dating to the 10th century. The foundations remain where they were found, and the area surrounding the former house educates about the lifestyle, history, and archaeology of human habitation of the Reykjavík area. Plus, bonus, we got to see Cod Man’s alter ego, Puffin Man:

That’s my boyfriend, everybody.

Even though I’d been to the National Museum before, it was still a refreshing experience, because this time I took pictures. I won’t bore you with the details, but here’s a few of the photographic highlights.

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  1. Janice Zuwlch

    Hi Rachael- I have really been enjoying your blogs. What a great experience you are having. Jack and I are doing fine. Please stay warm and can’t wait to here more. Love you 😘


  2. Dottie Kenny

    Iceland is fascinating, a place I would have liked to visit, in the summer, 60 yrs. ago. Now, reading this blog, which I really enjoyed, i’m Grateful that God placed me where he did.
    Keep on Rachel, I love your blogs.


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