Barbecue and ice cream, freshly-mown lawns, bringing out the garden furniture, planting flowers, wearing sunglasses and light dresses—not just for show but because it’s actually warm and sunny enough—feeling tempted to go for a swim at the pool, cycling with the family to the thermal beach, Nauthólsvík to play in the sand…it’s a fact: summer is actually here.
It’s been a cold spring. It was the coldest May in Reykjavík in 35 years! In late May, ocean temperatures were below average, it kept snowing on mountain passes until early June, there has rarely been as much winter snow in the highlands and the main highland roads remain closed to this day.
But finally, two weeks ago, we started to see signs that winter was giving in to summer with rising temperatures and clear skies.
On June 15, while on a short break in Akureyri, my hometown in North Iceland, I took my son to the forest Kjarnaskógur outside town, one of my favorite childhood places, and enjoyed watching him play in the sun.
Since then, the weather has been good in all parts of the country and the forecast remains promising, with temperatures up to 19°C (66°F) expected in West Iceland today.
Good weather means good business for meat producers, as people take every opportunity they can to barbecue. Although the legislation banning strikes—including among veterinarians, which limited the operations of slaughterhouses— is disputed, people are thrilled that they can buy beef again and eat proper hamburgers.
The good weather also came as a relief to the organizers of the Secret Solstice outdoor music festival in Laugardalur in Reykjavík, as at first, the outlook wasn’t too promising. Festival guests sipped beer while tanning in the on-site hot tub and danced to live music in the sunny summer evenings.
As the name indicates, the festival is held around the summer solstice, which was on June 21 this year. It’s the longest day of the year, when the sun hardly sets at all in this part of the world.
People celebrated the day in various ways; many went hiking and watched from a mountain top as the sun barely kissed the ocean at midnight before rising again.
Although we have many more bright summer nights to look forward to, from now on the days will gradually grow shorter again. September 23 marks the autumn equinox, when the day and night are of equal length, after which the sun will to a growing degree be overtaken by darkness and winter sets in.
Last summer was mostly a rainy and overcast one with few pool visits and fewer barbecues—meat producers complained over sales.
We can only hope that these past weeks are an indication for how the rest of the summer will turn out; after the long winter and cold spring, we truly deserve some sunshine in our lives.
Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir – eyglo(at)icelandreview.com