I love the feeling of walking around Reykjavík city when it starts snowing for the first time. Especially when the snow covers my city like a thick white velvety blanket.
A couple of years ago we got so much snow that it hadn't snowed as much in Reykjavík since 1979. I remember the winter of 1979 well; as once that winter I got lost in such a bad blizzard in Reykjavík that I didn't know whether I was coming or going, or if I was walking on the street or the pavement.
All of a sudden there was absolutely no visibility. It was like being lost in a fog, only this was a roaring ice-cold blizzard! It took me an hour to get to my home, which was only 15 minutes away, as I rammed into a big pile of snow and just lay there until the blizzard finally stopped.
There were people all over Reykjavík finding themselves in the same situation as I was, totally lost in the blizzard.
But the snow this time around in Reykjavík is totally different, so beautiful and peaceful. Join me for a walk in the snow down to my local park in Laugardalur valley, to enter the fairy tale world of trees covered in snow.
Beautiful statues in the snow
Laugardalur valley is Reykjavík's main recreational area and there you will find the Sports Hall Laugardalshöll - the Sports Stadium, the Ice Skating Rink, the largest swimming pool in Iceland; Laugardalslaug geothermal swimming pool, the Reykjavík Botanic gardens, and Reykjavík Domestic animals Zoo and Family park, so this is quite a busy area.
Not so when I was having a stroll there in the snow, there was only a handful of people in the park.
Botanic gardens are my favourite so I often visit Laugardalur park. But today it was covered in snow. I will add another blog next summer with photos of the beautiful flowers in the Botanic garden, so you can see the difference.
You will find a café in the botanic garden, Café Flóran with a lovely conservatory. On sunny days this is a very busy area and on winter days it looks like Winter Wonderland.
Ever wondered what a turf house looks like in the snow? Isn't it pretty?
A serene pond is close to the Botanic garden, with lovely little bridges. This is one of my favourite parts of the park, ever so serene and beautiful, especially when it is covered in thick white snow.
Daylight is scarce in the winter months in Reykjavík, so my photos are a bit dark. These photos are taken at noon when the sun was trying to rise above the horizon.
Isn't this lovely?
There used to be a hot spring in Laugardalur valley - the Icelandic word "laug" means hot spring or pool - and the valley gets its name from that hot spring. Here women used to do their laundry - rain or shine - or snow.
They carried their heavy laundry from downtown Reykjavík - up Laugavegur (hot spring road) and way up to Laugardalur valley. The distance is some 3 km. In 1887 the trackless terrain of what is now Laugavegur street was cleared so that carriages could drive up to the hot-spring.
Laugarnar in Laugardalur - here the woman washed clothes in the hot spring
The women did the laundry until the first decades of the last century. Here used to be crowds of women who did their laundry by this hot spring under dangerous circumstances - during the winter it was very slippery and the steam from the hot spring made the circumstances even worse.
Some women lost their lives here. From 1884-1901 three women stumbled into the hot spring. In 1902 racks and walls around the hot springs were put up for safety.
There are now very informative educational signs on this spot on the life by the hot-spring through the centuries. This historical place makes the walk through the beautiful valley very interesting.
Laugarnar in Laugardalur valley
The statue by the old hot-spring represents Þvottakonan or the Laundry Woman made by Ásmundur Sveinsson in 1958, but he was one of Iceland's best-known sculptors.
I continued on my journey towards downtown Reykjavík and left Laugardalur valley. Only a couple of minutes west of Laugardalur the Ásmundarsafn - the Sculpture Museum of Ásmundur Sveinsson, is located.
Ásmundarsafn is part of Reykjavík Art Museum, and you will find a lovely sculpture garden around the museum, which you can visit free of charge. In the snow some of the white statues in the sculpture garden looked like snowmen - see my photo below.
Ásmundarsafn museum and sculpture park in the snow
Ásmundur Sveinsson sculptor (1893-1982) was one of the pioneers of sculpture in Iceland. He believed that art should be for the people so most of his work was designed for public places. He built his home in the form of the Arabic houses and the pyramids, and this was both his home and workplace as is the case with so many other sculptors.
You can see his sculptures in several places in Reykjavík and in other places in Iceland.
The sculpture in my photo below is one of Ásmundur's sculptures. It is called Veðurspámaðurinn or the Weather Man. It has stood here on this spot in front of the museum since 1934 trying to predict the unpredictable weather in Iceland.
The weather-man in the sculpture park by Ásmundarsafn museum in the snow
Popular winter activities in Iceland include visiting the ice caves by Breiðamerkurjökull, the Katla ice cave by Vík, Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and the Ice Diamond Beach - glacier hikes are also very popular.
I recommend visiting the ice caves, the ones I have visited were absolutely breathtaking!
A sapphire blue ice cave in Breiðamerkurjökull glacier
I usually only travel in the summertime, but I have written a couple of travel-blogs about a winter visit outside of Reykjavík:
Have a lovely winter visit in my country :)