mánudagur, desember 08, 2008

skólavörðustígur

...or school-warden's-path, is one of the most promient streets in downtown Reykjavík. It angles off of the Bankastræti/Laugavegur junction and heads straight up an incline to Hallgrímskirkja and the Statue of Pre-Columbus Ass-Kicker Leifur Eiriksson, standing on his concrete prow.

This past summer, the street was closed to car traffic and the place was dug up to a degree that would suggest this project as R-town's answer to the Big Dig. Even being a pedestrian was difficult as passing down what was once the sidewalk involved navigating a series of interlinked wooden bridges. The owners of Kaffi Babalú complained that they had lost much of their business, as the cafe was hidden from view by a pile of construction-related detritus.

I remembered all of this today, as I walked down from the top of the hill towards 12 Tónar. I don't know when exactly it happened, but it's as if all of the construction debris was never there. The street looks just like it always did.

But with one huge difference. We got 3 or 4 inches of snow last night, and on this cold blustery day there was zero snow to be found anywhere on Skólavörðustígur. Not on the street, not on the brand-new wide sidewalks, none even at the intersections where other roads connect. As part of the dig-up, the city laid hot water pipes under everything they could. Off on the side streets, I could see just where the hot water pipes stopped: there was a line of snow and ice there that could have been drawn with a ruler. But on the main street, all was clear.

When the Icelandic economy really hit the skids the first week of October, I remember reading a British article on what was happening here. At the bottom, in the comments section, someone had written in what seemed to me a spirit of schadenfreude, "Wait until the winter comes and nobody can heat their homes!" Lady, we have so much hot water here we heat whole streets.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

Nice to have you back, keep up the good work!

Sindri

8.12.08  
Blogger Michele said...

Hi, I met you briefly at a New Year's party last year (I went to high school with Brad). I was just looking through pictures of our trip and have fond memories of Skólavörðustígur and Hallgrímskirkja. Radiant heating under the street is pretty impressive!

9.12.08  

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