Thursday, June 23, 2011

Independence Day Sights

T made the best use of his Independence Day by eating some CandyFloss (as cotton candy is called here). We also went with friends to my favorite coffeeshop, called C is for Cookie, and had some amazing desserts. I thought the flag of Iceland was a nice touch to this meal.

I also got my first peek in Fríkirkja, the 'Free Church' in Reykjavík. It's right downtown, next to the museum, but for some reason I've never seen it open for visitors. And I haven't known anyone to perform or get married in it, so it was nice to see something right downtown that I hadn't before!

I heard the Independence Day song of Iceland three times, in three different versions. One was from a marching band, and then I heard it sung by this male choir, all duded-up for the occasion in their tuxes, sunglasses, and beers. It's actually kind of a sad but beautiful song.

Directly after the choir performance was an electronic-dance jam version of the Independence Day song, which was pretty great to hear such a far-removed version from the original hymn. I wondered how many people 'got it', or if they just thought, oh, here's a bunch of hipsters playing around with some funny sounds.

I actually think that the coolest thing I saw all day was this chess game. There was a life-size chess game set up in one of the parks in town, with some cute kids playing with chess pieces the size of their whole bodies. But next to that were two rows of tables set up and a line of people waiting to sit down. On the tables were rows of chessboards. Chess is huge in Iceland, it's practically their national sport! So, you could wait for a turn and play chess here. But the catcher is that you could play against a young chess champion, and he was playing all the games at once- one guy playing 12 games sinultaneously!! It was really fascinating to watch, people of all ages joining in and having a good smarty-pants time, and the star of the show was super relaxed and casual about it.

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