Saturday, July 19, 2008

Summery Day

The due date for the next review is coming close and closer, so today I had to go to the museum I’ve decided to write about and do some photos. It was such a lovely day – the sun was shining from the early morning, no clouds in the sky, no sharp wind. Perhaps that is why people were more talkative, more willing to smile and chat with one another.

I got acquainted with an elderly lady. I helped her with her walker when she arrived at the bus stop and gave her a sunny spot on the bench while waiting for the bus. We started to talk and naturally our conversation continued on the bus. She spoke in Icelandic; I tried my best to figure out what we were talking about and answered/asked occasional questions. (It is surprising how much you can understand and convey by listening carefully.) I found out that her name was Undur and she was 79 years old. She has 4 kids, 3 grandkids, and 2 grandchildren; some of them live in Iceland, some in Spain. She loves ballet and used to travel. She was going to her doctor appointment to check her hip and so on and so far.
She was such a sweetheart – petite, with curly short hair and blue lively eyes. She exuded such joy; it was such a pleasure talking with her that when we got off the bus, I strolled a bit more with her. We parted our way in Kringlan with hugs and kisses as if we knew each other for ages. I love such encounters – they stand on their own without any further development, as if their main function is just to brighten your day. Undur went to stroll around the mall, since she had some time before her doctor appointment and I went to the Asmundarsafn, Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum. It was a splendid day to go there. The reason that I decided to write about this museum is simple – it is one of my favourite places in Reykjavik and it looks absolutely gorgeous in summer. The greenery of the trees plays against the white walls of the building, and blue sky serves as a wonderful backdrop. The sculptures scattered around in the garden come to live under the rays of the sun, and the inside space of the museum is lit with golden light coming from above. The shape of the building, sculpture garden outside, abundance of light inside, sparse placement of the sculptures, their angular upward movement – every time I come here I feel reenergized.

The sculptor, Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893 – 1982), was one of the pioneers of Icelandic sculpture. His creations vary from massive stone sculptures to pieces constructed out of iron and steel rods, from realistic figures to pure abstractions. The museum itself was his studio and living quarters, which he donated, along with his collection, to the City of Reykjavik. Below is my favourite work of his and you can see other photos here

Botanical Garden is not far away from the museum so I strolled there. It was filled with families strolling, picnicking, playing and feeding the ducks. Here is a little mound house, which perhaps is just a storage area, but looks like a house of the seven dwarfs.

On the way to the Botanical Gardens I passed by a man sleeping on the pavement. He just lay there with his left hand under his cheek and his right hand between his knees, a red bandana tied around the lower part of his face. I was tempted to come closer and check his pulse, but decided to do it on my way back. When I returned in a half hour or so he was gone, I guess his nap was finished.

I finished my day in Kringlan, browsing some stores and having solitary but, oh, so peaceful lunch. (The summer break is fun for the kids but sometimes it is nice to have a break from their summer break.)

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