misty water-coloured memories

Last year I read an amazing book by Stephen King called ‘On Writing’. For anyone who fancies themselves as a bit of a wordsmith, this is SUCH a good read. One of the tasks he sets is to scribble out a list – without really thinking – of your memories. Obvy not ALL of them, because that would be a totally massive mammoth type-fest, but to write down whatever memories pop into your brain. It’s a really interesting task and is a good way to flesh out the bare bones of ideas into stories.

Digging around in my incredibly well-organised desktop filing system (that’s a funny joke – HAHA), I came across my initial musings:

Technically my first day of prep, but still packs the same punch, no?

Technically my first day of prep, but still packs the same punch, no?

I remember the first day of Grade One at primary school. A girl in my class was crying beside one of the classrooms because her older sister Eve had been stung by a bee. I sat with her and told her it would be OK. Her name was Prue, and that was the day I met my first bestie.

I remember running laps around the school. I HATED any kind of sports when I was a kid – I struggled to keep up with the rest of my class. I remember being lapped by the other kids as I plodded slowly along… As I turned a corner from the basketball court around the front of the school, I ran into three older boys (I think they were in Grade 5 or Grade 6 – I would have been in Grade 2 or 3); they were the ‘tough’ guys, I’d seen them bullying other kids and I’d managed (for the most part) to avoid them. But as I rounded the corner, I accidentally made eye contact with one of them. I quickly looked away, but as I ran off, one of them yelled out “Who were you looking at??” and I called back “No one…” and he yelled “No one? You were looking at one of us. Who was it??” and I called back “I don’t know. All of you”. I remember feeling completely ashamed and terrified, because it had been a glance, in a ‘there are the bullies’ kinda scared way, and they’d made me feel like it was a ‘crush/love’ glance.

Not long after that, I remember walking home from school one day, and one of the afore-mentioned bullies came up behind me and started tapping a stick on the top of my backpack. “Makes a good drum, that” he leered, and I stuck my tongue out at him, not thinking. He pushed me up against a fence by my throat, and held me there. I can’t remember what he said.

I remember the heat on my neck under my scarf as I rode my bike to North Melbourne this morning. Today is cool, especially after the heat of the past few days, so I think I was being ambitious wearing a neckscarf on a bike ride in the sun. The silk kept the heat in, and when I arrived at the Red Cross for my volunteering shift, I felt warm and sweaty and out of breath [DISCLAIMER: this was not written today, but last year. But if I was wearing a neckscarf today and rode my bike somewhere, I think I would have written a similar post]

I remember how fast I rode my bike home the day I spotted Gus on the Lost Dogs Home website, and how frantic I felt when Rich didn’t respond to my text/email/call about our perfect dog being up for grabs. We got him though. Obvy.

I remember the slug on our back verandah the night of my mum’s funeral. And that my dad and I sat and watched as it slithered along a wooden paling, while we had a house full of people inside.

I remember my first day of work at my first ever job. It was a Saturday and I had scored the role of hair-sweep-er-up-er at the hairdressers. I agonised over what to wear, and how to do my own hair. I remember, just before I left home, spitting toothpaste into my hair as I brushed my teeth.

I remember a group of us standing beneath an air vent at work as smoke poured out of it, wondering aloud “Should we call the fire brigade?”. We did. I was told to get everyone out of the building (I was the fire marshall at my work, and for the first and only time in my fire marshalling career, I got to wear my safety helmet and blow my whistle). Three firetrucks screamed around the corner into Wellington Street, burly firefighters pouring out, running into the building with pick axes and hoses. Turns out the building wasn’t on fire. A belt in the air conditioning had snapped. That was the day I discovered my penchant for a man in uniform.

IMG_0381

This pic reminds me of the time I had a snake coiled around my neck in Morocco. You can literally see the excited fear in my eyes.

Which leads me to remember the day I met Sgt Joshua (aka Drazic from Heartbreak High, aka Callan Mulvey) from Rush – they were filming an episode right near my work, and a good friend  was the on-set nurse. I remember how hot my face got as she pushed me towards him to take a picture, and how tightly I gripped my coffee cup, and how giddy I felt. See? Men in uniform. Even a fake uniform.

I remember driving to Wye River with Imogen on a Friday evening a few years ago. I sat in the front with Gus at my feet; Rich sat in the back with Peppa the whippet. Peppa struggled on some of the curly roads, and was sick all over Rich’s lap (I still break into the giggles when I think about this: Rich saying “Umm, guys?” as we drove around a bend). I remember Rich only brought one pair of pants. Problematic. I remember the sky was clear when we left Melbourne, but darkened the closer we got to the coast. On our way through Lorne, I remember the rain starting to fall, and the gray of the sky. It was the perfect evening for red wine and stew and long talks about life.

I remember meeting a boy on the first anniversary of my Mum’s death, at a festival in Woodford. I thought I was SO cool and SO alternative and I met him in the Chai Tent (which I thought was the most incredibly bohemian place ever) and confiding in him that it was Mum’s anniversary, and him saying “Well, it’s been a year. You’d be over it by now, yeah?”. No.

I remember the taste of the white pinot noir (yes, white!) I had with lunch, with a very excellent friend, at a very excellent restaurant in Gertrude Street. The wine was good, the food was great, the company was THE BEST.

You should give it a go. Unleash the writing-remembering beast! You can keep going with it forever, or focus on certain years or ages or experiences. Let me know in the comments if you do – I’d love to read it.

wembolina’s melbourne list

Bucket list. I don’t really like that term. It makes me feel a bit sad. One of my all-time, absolute favourite magazines has a section in the front, where they interview chefs and foodie-type peeps and they ask them what they’d want their last meal to be. People salivate over this stuff (literally!), but it always kinda makes me feel a little bummed out. I don’t wanna think about my last meal. Or ‘things to do before I die’. I just wanna eat and have adventures and be happy and when my time’s up, I hope it’s quick and that there isn’t a giant pavlova I have to get through before I give life the ol’ heave-ho.

That’s not the most appealing opening paragraph, is it? No… But since ‘that’ movie came out a few years ago, bucket lists seem to be popping up all over the place. Time Out recently had a ‘101 Things To Do Before You Die’ feature in their magazine, which made me think “Hmm… Having adventured about the world over the past few months, there are so many fun things to do in this fair city…. Maybe I should make my OWN ‘Things to do’ list (without the morbidity factor) that might inspire activity and adventure for Wembolina readers?”.

So here goes. This is a list of things I’m super keen to do, and things I’ve done that I would whole-heartedly recommend to ANYONE – visitors and locals alike!:

Kayaking at Studley Park Boathouse

Hire a kayak for one – or make a date of it with yo beau – and paddle up the river towards Fairfield. Once you get past the ‘Sunday Driver’ row-boaters, you’ll find yourself virtually alone in the bush (which is weird, given you’re about 5 kms out of the city) – just trees and birds and the occasional ‘pro’ kayaker. On hot days you might see (gulp) a snake slithering across the surface of the water. YUCK! I don’t think they can leap into your boat though, so you should be safe (should be). If you go far enough, you’ll find yoself surrounded by sleeping fruitbats, which is eerie and creepy and kinda like something out of a horror flick… And it stinks a bit too. But it’s totally worth it.

You can also kayak through Docklands at twilight, which I’ve never done, but am SUPER keen to!

Horseback Winery Tour in Red Hill

I did this a few years ago with a bunch of peeps I didn’t really know, and now we’re all totally besties, so I HIGHLY recommend this. You head to the stables in the morning, get paired with your horse, don some tres fetching Drizabone jackets and a helmet, and then you’re off! Most of the trail is along dirt roads through farmland, but you do a few canters and the like through vineyards and paddocks, which is pretty spesh. We hit up three wineries, got a little sozzled, and finished the day with lunch at the Red Hill Brewery. Woot!

Peninsula Hot Springs

We went to the Hot Springs after our horse-riding booze-fest, and it was pretty nice, but VERY busy. There were a few moments where I felt like I was in a bowl of Human Soup, rather than having a ‘relaxing unwind’ in a thermal pool. No matter. If you went on a weeknight or in winter, I reckon it’d be quite a bit more sublime. Would deffo recommend cooking yourself in the sauna and then jumping into the icy plunge-pool – totes invigorating!!

Warburton Rail Trail

O snap, this is ANOTHER adventure I had with my new gang of besties (we are actually a real gang – I’ll tell you about it some other time!) and a fun weekend away if you are sans car. Ride your bike to Flinders Street Station (or some other station), get on a train to Lilydale (a charming ‘burb that has neither lilies nor dales), and cycle your way along 38kms of old railway line to Warburton. There are a few cafes and pitstops to make along the way, and it’s a relatively easy ride (until you hit the mofo hill on the way back – but if I can do it, anyone can!!). We spent the night at a house in Warburton and moseyed back to Melbourne the next day, but not before filling up on scones and coffee at The Patchwork Teahouse.

Having a little rest on our way to Warburton

Penguin Parade, Phillip Island

Do you know that I have lived in Melbourne my whole entire life and I’ve never even been to Phillip Island, let alone seen the penguins strut their stuff along the sand in front of 8000 snap-happy tourists? This must happen. Because penguins are in my top 5 favourite animals of all time.

(Thanks to Chris Cohen for his genius penguin translation; please note that these guys are NOT fairy penguins, you won’t see them doing this on Phillip Island)

Women of Letters

Why have I never been to this? I love sassy ladies, I love writing, and I love letters! Held once a month at the luvverly Thornbury Theatre, WoL celebrates the lost art of letter writing with some of Melbourne’s finest creative lady-folk – writers, musos, politicians, et al. I’M PUTTING THE NEXT ONE IN MY DIARY!!! I’M DEFFO GONNA GO!!! Plus, at the end of the afternoon, you get to drink wine and pen a letter of your own.

No Lights No Lycra

A good friend of mine went to her first No Lights No Lycra thinking it was a yoga class, and wondered why every one was dancing up a storm to bangin’ 80s tracks when she walked in. Warm ups? Not very zen. Not very relaxing. But once she got into the swing of it – following the ‘dance like no one’s watching’ mantra, because NO ONE IS because THE LIGHTS ARE OUT – she cut loose, Kevin Bacon-style, and has been going to the weekly classes ever since. I love dancing, and I love 80s n 90s tunes, so this is definitely an evening I could embrace!

Volunteering at the Collingwood Children’s Farm

In my quest to brush up – nay, perfect – my gardening skillz, this is a great way to learn about dirt and compost and what to plant and when. AND! You’re surrounded by behbeh cows and goats and guinea pigs, so it’s a pretty sweet venture. The last time I was at the Children’s Farm, I saw a cat with no ears bite a small child. But that kid was pulling its tail, so I think it’s warranted.

Learn to crochet

Well helloooo, I just did this TODAY!!! Learning the art of the granny square has been on my list of things to do for about 4 years. Fingers crossed I’ll be well on my way to completing a ye olde woollen rug in no time! There are a ton of places you can wield a needle around town, but I did it at Thread Den. Morris and Sons also looks like a pretty great place to partake in a few lessons, and they have wool and needles to die for. 

Look at what I did!!!

Be an extra on Offspring (or be discovered and offered a leading role – I’m not fussed)

Since my all-time favourite Melbourne-filmed TV show RUSH was sadly AXED last year, I have had to focus my Australian drama sights on another show. Offspring. Which is quite a bit better than Rush, really. Less guns and car chases and loud music, but not enough Sgt Joshua *swoony sadface*… Offspring is filmed in my neck of the woods and I always seem to be stumbling across shoots (I promise not in a stalky way – it’s just that I walk my dog a lot, and your two main shooting locations are across the road from my work – HONEST!!!), so it makes sense that one day I should be asked to ‘sit at the bar with a friend, laughing into your white wine spritzers’ or ‘stroll with conviction down Smith Street, with your eco-friendly shopping bag tucked tightly under your arm’ or ‘cycle gaily down George Street, but MAKE SURE YOU’RE WEARING A HELMET!!!’. But seriously, this is a great show. Well done, writers. Well done, cast and crew.

Picnic lunch at Heide Museum

Make some salad and sammies, jump in the car, and head to the Heide Museum in Bulleen. On a nice day, you can sit on the grass amongst the sculptures, soaking up the serenity (and art) as you munch on yo lunch. On not-so-nice days, book a table at Cafe Vue, have a little tipple, then stroll through the museum admiring the luvverly artworks… A nice activity to do with your folks, if you’re after something parent-friendly.

Sign up for a Broga class

My ace pal Jennie started up Broga a few months ago, following a trip to Thailand where she got her Yoga license – yay! Geared towards the fellas – but ladies are most welcome (phewf, so I can sign up!) – Jennie works with small groups, and posts handy tutorials on her blog. I’ve done a bit of yoga and pilates over the years, but always feel like a bit of a brittle ol’ stick when I’m surrounded by elasticky pretzel ladies. The small class size – and Jennie’s hilar sense of humour – are mega appealing to me.

Foodie things

What would a Wembolina post be without some food references? As the world’s biggest lover of a good meal (not proven), here are a coupla places I’m DESPERATE, on-the-edge-of-my-seat to eat at, plus some others that are a bit special, or just a bit great:

Loam, Drysdale – they FORAGE for food, then they cook it!!
Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld – all I know about this place is that the food is flipping incredible. And they often post photos of echidnas on Twitter. Food + Australian wildlife = perfeck (as long as the wildlife ain’t on the plate. Which I’m sure it is on occasion, but I don’t need to partake to that extent).
The Estelle, Northcote – order the degustation (WITH dessert), get your friendly waiter to match wines, and sit back and relax. The food here is ridonkulous – in a deliciously splendid way – but it’s the presentation that’ll knock your socks off.
The Everleigh, Fitzroy – go here and order a martini. Just do it. If you wanted to dress up like a flapper, it would not be frowned upon. This would be a nice place to have a drink with Morgan Freeman.
Afternoon tea at The Windsor, Melbourne – When I finally get around to doing this, I’m going to dress up like Elizabeth Bennet and tut at Mister Darcy’s lateness. While I eat sandwiches and little cakes.

Dirty martinis....

And so ends my ‘Things to Do’ in Melbourne post. Are you a Melbourne-ite? What are YOUR top things to do in our leafy town? Or what are you bursting at the seams to do? Tell me, tell me, so I can add it to my list!

into the woods

And now, as promised, we step back in time – to a few weeks ago, when Rich and I spent a few nights in the forest and had no electricity and certainly no wifi!

While in Goteburg, Rich and I had the fortune to stay at a hotel that was built right on top of the main train station AND bus depot. It was very convenient and meant that there was no excessive amounts of stress/train fever and that we didn’t hafta grapple with any maps. You know how I am with maps!

So at midday on Monday, we checked out of our train station hotel, got on the bus to Odeshog (yes – Ur-des-herg) and away we went. Knowing that there would be no pit stops along the way, and no vending machine in the woods, we stocked up on Copacabana Sugarless Fruit Drops, a salty-licorice chocolate bar called Plopp (how could ANYONE resist!!) and a chocolate-y wafer-y type of bar called Kex. I think. Along with our sugary treats, I also got us my favourite new drink: rhubarb flavoured mineral water!! On his first sip, Rich screwed up his entire face and declared “That doesn’t taste like anything!! ESPECIALLY rhubarb!!!” but I love the quirkiness of MFND and refused to partake in his criticism. All the more for meeeee!

After bussing past trees and red houses and supermarkets that seemed to have a silhouette of my dog Gus holding a picnic basket in his mouth as their logo, we arrived at our destination. Odeshog. Population: very few.

It was cold. And raining. Quite a lot actually. Fortunately, our host Ulrike was waiting for us and we were soon on our way to her property, Urnatur.

It really is a sight to behold. Urnatur is a large property on a lake, with rocky paddocks, and forest, and fruit trees and sheep and a dog and chooks. And a fox. And trolls. Yes! Trolls!

She drove us up to our hut, deep in the woods, about a kilometre away from the farm house on a rocky track. Our hut, built by Hakan, Ulrike’s husband, was surrounded by about six other huts (all empty for the time being) and lots and lots of trees. And trolls. And a huge bathroom/sauna. And trolls. And all the trees. And no electricity. And… trolls.When we got to the hut, we had a quick lesson in lighting gas lanterns and heating up the sauna, and before we knew it, Ulrike was gone and it was just the two of us, alone in the woods, just us and our thoughts. And our gas lanterns. And the trolls.

The rain started to ease and we decided to head into town to get some things to make for dinner. Donned in our raincoats, we grabbed some bikes from the barn and off we went, down winding country roads for the most part, and along highway for a bit, and through tiny villages with perfectly cut grass and apple trees in their front gardens.

Did I mention that my bike didn’t have brakes? It didn’t. It was touch and go there for a while, careening down steep hills, along streets ridden with pot holes, but after 6kms of furious pedalling and agility and squeezed shut eyes, we made it to Dinners, Odeshog’s answer to… well…. Sizzler, I guess.

I ate a fried egg sandwich and had a Coke. I felt like I was Jack Kerouac in ‘On the Road’ only in Sweden, and me, and not a beat poet. Rich is my Sal Mineo. Having a pastrami and cheese roll.

Realising that there were no fresh vegetables at Dinners, and that we were quickly losing the vibe to cook in an outdoor kitchen over a fire, we settled on some roasted vegies and salads and some traditional Swedish cakes. Which weren’t, of course, traditional in any sense of the word, because we had bought them from a roadhouse (yes, a ROADHOUSE!! On a highway!! I’m sorry I wasn’t honest right from the start…) and not a quaint bakery on a cobble-stoned lane…

Back on our bikes, laden with take-away containers and cheap Swedish servo beer, we rode back to Urnatur and again, I managed to avoid being thrown from my bike and into the bear-filled woods.

Home again, we toasted with our large cans of beer and ate salad by the lake as the sun set above the trees. How’s the serenity?

The next morning we were up bright and early – 6.30am – to trawl in the nets and the cray traps in the lake with Hakan. We met him on the jetty at 7am and clambered into the tin boat, which, by the way, was leaky, and which, by the way, Hakan made no secret of. My job was to scoop water out of the boat when it got too full and we were at risk of drowning.

Polystyrene markers bobbed at intermittent intervals atop the lake; under each homemade buoy, a trap was awaiting us, filled with crayfish.

Swedish crays are a little different to Australian crays – they are much smaller, mebbe a little bigger than a prawn. But no less pinchy; these guys still have huge pincers, ready to nip you if you make a wrong move.

Fortunately, we upended all our crays (and wayward fish) into a large bucket on the boat without mishap. By the time we were back at the jetty, the bucket was filled with about 40 snapping crustaceans.

Hakan pulled out two of the biggest fish from the catch, cleaned them and filleted them, and put them in the gas-fueled fridge for our dinner (which, when we fried them up later over the fire, was possibly the greatest meal I’ve cooked in a LONG while!).

Ulrike was waiting for us by the jetty, to let us know that breakfast was ready. Fresh bread, cheese, jam, eggs, juice, coffee and weird fish spreads were laid out on the bench. 

We loaded up our plates and filled our cups and ate and talked and listened to stories of racist Swedes, and a survival course Hakan did in the early 80s in the Australian outback, and the time they found a dead body while travelling in New Zealand. Twas definitely an interesting breakfast conversation.

Full and satisfied, Rich and I made our way back to the clearing by our hut and spent the rest of the day lazing on the grass, reading our books, avoiding the trolls, and feeling a long way from anywhere.

** I’ve mentioned trolls quite a bit in this post. We fortunately didn’t encounter any Hoggle-like dwarves during our time in Sweden, but I have no doubt that they’re there. On our second night in our log cabin, I could have sworn I heard one tap-tap-tapping on the outside wall of our hut…

some observations about sweden

1 – Swedes are exceptionally stylish and good looking. The ‘no shopping’ rule we set ourselves before embarking on this adventure is tres hard in a town like this, where fashion is exceptional and EVERYONE looks amazing.

2 – When it rains in Goteborg, it really rains. Teeming, straight-down, saturating rain.

3 – Dogs are allowed everywhere. Especially in shops. (I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture, but earlier today I saw two long-haired Afghans going for a walk and they both had hairdos! Braided ears!! Twas amazing…)

Here is a nice sign I saw on the train:

A nice sign on the train - dogs & cats sitting together in harmony

4 – Converse hi-tops are making a comeback. Like dogs, they are everywhere. Fluero pink cons on grans, red cons paired with flowing floral skirts on teens, dirty white cons on handsome men in dinner jackets.

5 – There are a lot of Volvos here. A lot.

6 – Facial piercings. Who woulda thunk it? O, and leg tattoos as well. On the most unassuming looking peeps. Vines around calves, massive flowers on feet, skulls on shins. Yes indeed.

We arrived in Goteborg yesterday after catching a bus, a train, and another bus from Oslo. After checking into our sauna-inspired hotel (all the walls are wood-panelled), Rich headed off to spend his birthday at Way Out West festival while I spent the afternoon doing handwashing. What an exciting way to spend the day. For the first time, I wondered what it would be like to be a Morman with a sister-wife or two, so the task at hand could have been halved (or quartered). But alas, Rich is no Bill Hendrickson and I am without a Margene, a Barb and a Nikki to assist with menial tasks, rivalry and bitchiness. Probably for the best…

After washing my smalls (and nearly pulling a muscle in my shoulder after some vigorous wringing), I read some book, watched some Swedish TV (and saw an ad for IKEA), did some emailing, and then ventured out into Goteburg for a walk and some dinner.

I have realised on this trip that I am no good at reading maps. The concierge at our hotel drew a line on my map, leading the way to the great restaurants of Goteburg (very straightforward as well – turn left out the door, hang a right at the canal, follow the water and you’re there) and I still managed to get lost.

But in a good way. You always hafta make the most of getting lost, right?

After twisting and turning my way through several cobble-stoned streets, I ended up at an outdoor Thai restaurant opposite a river lined with beer-drinking hipsters. And a barge (with a dog on it) that was a bar/restaurant/nightclub-type affair. A balcony in the distance was adorned with two life-sized horse statues. Fo real!! The food was good, the beer was better, and it was lovely to have a bit of time out with myself and my book (The Information by Martin Amis – you should read it!!).

Tomorrow we head north to a place called Odeshog (how do you think that’s pronounced? I went to the bus depot and asked for “Two adult tickets to Oweds-hog please” and the guy at the ticket counter looked at me blankly, then said “Ur-der-herg?”).

Yes. Ur-der-herg. I think that every time I attempt to speak Swedish, I need to channel a bit of Swedish chef from The Muppets.

Anyhoo, we head north to Ur-der-herg for a few nights in a wood hut with zero electricity. But there are canoes. And bikes. And crayfish in a lake. And a SAUNA IN THE WOODS!!! I plan on taking 800 photos and will give you a full report when we get back into a wifi zone later this week in Stockholm.

Hurrah!

Until then, I’ll leave you with this nice snap of a pooch I met at the station earlier today.

cycling to bjork’s house

The death of the hard-drive a few days ago really threw a spanner in the works when it came to writing about Iceland. When I got it back on Thursday afternoon, it took ages to reload everything back onto it, then there was no time to write on Friday because we spent the day at the Blue Lagoon and then flew back to Heathrow on Friday night, and had no internet access at le hotel…

Excuses excuses!

Enough of that!

Iceland is AMAZING!! Reykjavik is a beautiful, stylish, bustling little city, filled with cobbled streets, underground coffee shops, people dressed up as whale tails, handing out pamphlets saying ‘Meet us, don’t eat us’ to passersby, and cats! Cats everywhere!! Friendly cats, up for a pat and a cuddle ALL THE TIME! Cats that would cross the road to meet ME, rather than me stalking them, as I tend to do in Melbourne… I had a lot of great cat time here.

Everything is Reykjavik is quaint and cute and cosy and safe. It’s super lovely.

On Tuesday morning, Rich and I were up bright and early, had a bowl of muesli in our little apartment on Framnesvegur and made our way down to the docks for a tour of Reykjavik by bike. We got there stupidly early, so had a coffee at Haiti Cafe, then had a little wander around the docks.

At 9.45am, we met Ursula, a New Icelander (which is a MUCH nicer term than ‘immigrant) from Germany who was leading our group. She wheeled all the bikes out of a big shipping container, and I was given the bike named after Iceland’s most famous export: Bjork.

Rich was on the Magnus.

Away we went. First stop was the concert hall, a massive glass structure (kinda reminiscent of ACMI) on the harbour, built a few years ago when Iceland had zero money, as a way of attracting more tourists. Not sure that it has worked for them – the country is still in financial ruin – but the building is pretty amazing; like a giant glassy honeycomb.

After that we stopped at ‘the most famous hotdog stand in Rekjavik’. I didn’t see too many other hotdog stands, but it was the only stand (nay, restaurant) in Iceland that boasts Bill Clinton as its most famous customer. Ol’ Bill sure gets around – two bowls of noodle soup at that pho place in Swanston Street AND a hotdog with mustard in Iceland (he was too sissy to get one with the lot, because of the onions/public speaking thing)…

Riding on, we paid a visit to Parliament House, where the infamous Kitchenware Revolution was staged in 2008-09. When the country slipped into financial crisis, its politicians were seen doing very little, so the peeps of Iceland staged a mass protest outside Parliament House. Rather than getting violent and throwing rubbish bins (as we have seen at multiple G20 summits), a group of Icelanders descended on the lawn outside with their pots, pans and wooden spoons, and sat outside making a ruckus.

Unfortunately, someone got a little out of hand and set fire to the town Christmas tree (a gift from Denmark) so now there’s a permanent patch of dead grass in the lawn… The group sighed a little in disappointment at the news of the burning Christmas tree – the ultimate Scrooge (but for a pretty good reason, I guess).

Onwards and upwards, we cycled to the University, around a lake, Ursula pointed out Bjork’s house (a square black house with trickets on the windowsills – very unassuming and quite beautiful), then we rode back down the hill to the docks.

When we dismounted our trusty 2-wheeled steeds, we were tired and a little damp (Iceland is quite drizzly at this time of year). The perfect solution? Lobster soup on the dock. We joined two Canadians and two Americans in a funny shack on the waterfront, devoured our soup with big chunks of bread, then slowly moseyed back to Framnesvegur for a little nap…