Monday, May 19, 2008

Midnight Serenade

Lobby of the Hotel Borg, 2000

It was really just a whim.

A spring break vacation taken to Iceland, of all places.
We booked a mid-week package and decided to upgrade the
accommodations to include three nights at the Hotel Borg.
Right in the center of town, what could be more convenient?
When we arrived we were completely charmed by the hotel's
Art Deco motif. That day was spent wandering aimlessly,
everything was new and strange and mostly delightful.
That evening we found a little restaurant by the harbor,
Jonathan Livingston Malvern, ate a delicious meal
and returned to our room, completely satisfied in both mind
and spirit, and completely exhausted in body.

Our room was above a bar, and at about midnight the bar's
patrons began to sing. Not a raucous drinking ditty, but a
real song, with numerous stanzas, sung in harmony!
If we had possessed even an ounce of strength, we would
have gone down and joined them, as it was we just fell
asleep to the beautiful music.

This memory was brought to mind by this post
by Elise, in her blog The Reyjavík Harbor Watch.
It is an elegant muse about the joys of group singing,
singing in public, singing just for the joy of it.
It is something that has been lost here in the U.S.,
something that wouldn't be tolerated at all,
and more's the pity for that.

The Hotel Borg has gone through some renovations since '00, a double room is about $500 a night now- probably not really an Icelandair package option anymore.

By Professor Batty


Blogger ECS said...

I actually was raised in this tradition- my high school had weekly singing where the whole school came together, divided into 4 part harmony and sang everything from Mozart to the Beatles. A favorite memory is when I was with my rowing team on a long-distance trip, and at the very end of it we were all waiting on a beach at the edge of Long Island sound, achingly sore from rowing the CT River from Southern Vermont. To pass the time while waiting for our transportation home, we sang shape note hymns together. So maybe it's hardcoded in me too :)

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