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Lazy July

July is such a fantastic month in Iceland: lazy and languid and full of light.

Everything shuts down, people go on holiday, and the few people who are left working are easily forgiven for showing up late, leaving early, or for just taking it easy.

On sunny days, the open air swiminng pools are full of people, as are the cafés and Austurvöllur square. Some businesses go as far as closing due to weather — after all [the reasoning goes] we get such a few days a year like that here in the Land of the Ice, that we have to make the best use of them.

When I was younger, there was no television for the whole month of July here in Iceland. The [single] television station [RÚV] shut down so their people could go on vacation.

[The same thing applied year-round on Thursdays; there was no television so the people who worked there could have one day off a week.]

In any case, everything in Iceland seems different in July. It’s a month that is somehow suspended in time, carefree and buoyant, disassociated from the burdens and cares of the rest of the year.

And today was a GORGEOUS day.

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  • Jeffrey Diamond July 16, 2010, 12:31 am

    It’s like that in January here, cafe’s close down and put little signs out the front like “It’s too hot to drink coffee”

  • jo6pac July 16, 2010, 12:44 am

    I hope this stays part of nice lands way of life for ever.

  • Natalie July 16, 2010, 3:30 am

    Rub it in. Wish those wonderful things would happen here 🙁
    Hey Alda, need a personal chef? Willing to relocate to Iceland.

  • andy July 16, 2010, 8:56 am

    I miss July, sunbathing round the hotpots, walking around the coast and just generally relaxing. Lot to be said for switching TV off for a whole month.

  • andy July 16, 2010, 8:57 am

    Mind you, June and August are pretty good too!

  • Jessica July 16, 2010, 10:06 am

    I think July is also the month when Iceland’s official language becomes German. (Referring to our most common tourist group in the high season…)

  • sylvia hikins July 16, 2010, 11:47 am

    In England where work and making money has become the religion of the majority, nothing closes down- if it turns in a profit, 24/7 society. Remember those Wednesday’s when the shops closed? Or Sundays when you strolled in the park because nothing else opened its gates? Dead and gone. We’ve gained. And we’ve lost. Maybe we should just do what most of the rest of Europe seems to do-close down for August. Except that in England, in August it’s often monsoon. So like you, I would settle for light and languid July.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • idunn July 16, 2010, 8:27 pm

    Languid is a good term.

    Here is the USofA the seasons may best be reflected in popular culture by what the stores are selling, and if anything their hours even longer.

    But I am in the mountains, and that is different. It is languid, the nights moderate and days warm. Later in the summer there will be the occasional thunderstorm and perhaps a bit of brief rain. For now every day dawns nearly as clear and blue as the last, but a few billowy white clouds growing on the horizon come afternoon, then gone to a black night sky of myriad stars. All is in bloom, lush and green. Vaguely quiet, as if in pause from one season to another. Languid, one day flowing to the next as if the world always this way and could be no different.

    However there were the most perfectly lovely clouds on the horizon yesterday evening of grey, pink, white above, all the more radiant in an otherwise perfectly clear sky. Then below them in darker shades of grey towards snow-capped mountain peaks one brief strike of lightning. Followed later by more dancing lights within this magnificent fortress of cloud, but a reminder of change to come.

  • Knute Rife July 17, 2010, 12:34 am

    @sylvia
    Could be worse. Here in the US, people wear their Bluetooths to the bathroom. There is no such thing as down time, unless you’re unemployed.

  • maja July 18, 2010, 12:24 pm

    I remember no tv on thursdays. Mad!