Monday, February 28, 2005

The Parade

In the older part of Reykjavík, is a street named Laugarvegur.

Each weekend (nightly in the summer) a spontaneous parade forms, starting at about eleven P.M.

The street is one-way for cars, heading down a gentle hill into the central entertainment district.

The street and the numerous pubs and clubs on or near it are nearly empty, until the parade starts.

Revelers, scene-sters and wanna-bees. People of all ages. Cell phone tag between friends.

Young men hassling tourists.

Many walk (DWI laws are most severe here) although cars full of young adults clog the street, too.

The studs on the tires create a soundtrack of white noise as they pass over the cobbles.

People dress up to go out - Men in fine suits, women in attractive outfits - with only light (or no) jackets (in freezing temperatures), and no hats.

As they cross Ingólfsstræti, the street becomes Bankastræti and the action picks up.

You may glimpse a finely dressed man dancing on a table in a bar or, perhaps a little later, puking on the sidewalk.

This behavior is not peculiar to Iceland, but is so concentrated here, and is such contrast to the reserved actions of the people, that it feels as if you have stepped into an alternate dimension.

A universal slice of life, presented in a most unique parade.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Little Miss Loopy said...

The street is called Laugarvegur. And by the way they have approved tearing down about 17 of the oldest houses there to build modern store buildings, damn idiots. I think your describtion is interesting but I don't know if I agree with it. It's probably because I've grown up with this odd parade as you call it and walking around empty streets outside of Iceland where everything seems almost lifeless is stranger to me.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

Thanks for the correction - I checked my map and it is misspelled there! That is terrible about the old houses - they are one of the most unique and charming features of your city.

Blogger Lola said...

Sounds like fun. I suppose that I should visit there is summer next time...

Blogger Professor Batty said...

Lola..if you can stand a chance of some wild weather, it is a good place for a spring break...and a lot cheaper!

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