Of Rideshares, Reykjavík & Menningarnótt. Part One – Friday 19th August 2011

There are numerous ways to travel around Iceland ranging from those who cycle round, hitchhiking, taking the bus (expensive), domestic flights, asking around and letting people know you’re looking for a ride and then there’s also the carpooling website. There are no trains in case you think I’ve missed that one out.

I placed my ‘ride’ wanted notice on the website on a Monday and waited and waited. I’d already booked my accommodation in the Reykjavík for Friday but by Wednesday still hadn’t found a ride. Thursday was spent trying to find a ride and emailing potential rides. Some answered in the negative, others I never heard back from. I pretty much gave up and resigned myself to a bus ride or to trying to hitchhike. Thursday was also the night of the Potluck farewell dinner (see below) and so I went back to prepare my dishes but having finished my food prep, I had a nagging feeling that I should check my email one more time.

My luck was in! One of the drivers I had emailed still had a spot left in the car, I got a lift from the administrator at NES and waited at the petrol station at Blönduós for my ride. All I had was a visual description of the car though believe me suddenly you become very aware of every make of car. Then you start to wonder if grey means silver.

My ride arrived and not really having any idea of what to expect, I found myself sitting in the back behind the driver in car full of teenage passengers. One teenage girl sat in the front passenger seat and I sat next to two teenage boys. The boys periodically chatted to each other or sent text messages on their phones. I couldn’t tell if any of them were related or not. Otherwise the only other sound was the radio which would drop in and out depending on the section of road…the only song that we heard completely was ‘Instant Karma’ by John Lennon. I found it slightly unnerving if I’m honest that nobody asked any questions, I know its tourist season and all but I really expected a few questions like: ‘Do you like Iceland?’, ‘What are you doing in Iceland?’, ‘Where have you come from?’ or ‘What is your name?’. How often do you get a 6ft tall Japanese guy in Northwest Iceland with a British accent?!

I will say this though, I saved more than a 1/3 using a rideshare and it was a good hour quicker than the bus.

After 17 days in Skagaströnd, I really found the city weird with the noise and amount of cars and all the different voices. I honestly wondered at one point if I was in Reykjavík, Iceland or Reykjavík, USA?! Where had all the Icelanders gone? I know I’m just as much a tourist but honestly was it a buy one get free special in the US?!

In February this year I was lucky to be one of the artists to stay as part of the residency run by SÍM, The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists in Reykjavík. I had a great time then, thanks in large part to the other artists with whom I was lucky enough to share with. Although not staying in the house this time round, my accomodation in the city was actually in the same part of  town. The neighbourhood was very familiar and after a quick dinner I did head downtown to check the bars for any familiar faces. I didn’t find any and headed back earlier than I intended to and was rewarded with this view. I  do love the view in that neighbourhood when the sun sets…

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