The sea is a friend and a foe, a powerful ally and a fierce enemy. For centuries, lives have been sacrificed in the name of survival. Fishermen braved out to sea, unsheltered from the rough torrents of winter and welcome gesture of the summer sun.
My grandfather was a fisherman. My great-grandmother's first husband died at sea. Countless stories tell of death at sea, the finite defeat in the battle against a raging foe, and merrier maritime stories describe the brave victory that is survival for the grace of a powerful ally.
Such is Iceland's heritage. Dramatic accounts in a dramatic scenery.
The city nightlife is a raging bull, high on life, that feeds off the wild commotion of liquid intoxication. Fashion influences monotonous but striking and edgy. Black on black. Licorice shooters and pints. The wild north.
In the modern day city, multiculturalism challenges the monoculture of the old fishing village. A melting pot of familiar and unfamiliar languages, of exotic restaurants and delightful cafés, the city embraces the birth of a new heritage.
In the prosperous years before the chaos of the economic crisis struck the little land, tall-ish high-rises where luxury was the fundamental ingredient rose in excess. The Icelandic Manhattan dream came true in splendid glass towers overlooking Faxe bay, the sea neither a friend or foe. Just a splendid background to material wealth readily available for a big sum of money.
The "vue de mar" a precious commodity. The sea not only a source of income but a symbol of wealth.
Unlike the splendid dream that died upon the first big blow, the thick stonewall that is constantly under attack from the temperamental sea, the sea that is sometimes gay and at other times gray from gloom, survives each and every blow the warrior waves send its way.
Meanwhile, the palace of music, the majestic Harpa, (in short, the "Harp") sits in her new throne. The frames in the glass walls change shades in the eve of night and reflect the rainbow of musicality that is celebrated in the spacious interior.
But there is another side to the city; a side that is quiet, so quiet not even the violent tendencies of the North Atlantic Ocean care to strike with too much force. Sometimes, just sometimes, the reminisce of a tantrum is spread across the acres of tall grass and paved tracks meant for a leisurely walk, run or a quick sprint.
Across is a row of magnificent three-storey homes with neatly trimmed gardens and French windows all along the little street.
At Oceanside, colloquially known as "Ægisíða", the wind speaks in no vague terms against the sturdy foundation of the row of "Old Reykjavík" mansions. Neither is effected by the other. Only the beach takes on the full power of the grand Atlantic Ocean.
Oceanside is where I go to think, to explore and to share a moment of pure happiness with a one-year old puppy whose joie-de-vivre and endearing curiosity takes me on a journey of discovery every time we traverse the black sand.
Words are words. They speak volumes and when properly composed draw an image of the dramatic landscape that is so innate to the little city in the north.
But alas, the raw beauty of Oceanside is best conveyed through a visual medium, a medium that serves as a visual consent of the imagery drawn with words...