Hampton Court Palace, NYE in Aku and Olo on ice.

Just before New Year I was in London for a few days, and went to a few galleries such as the National Portrait Gallery (Giacometti) and the National Gallery (Goya) and also to Hampton Court Palace, which besides everything else has its own very interesting Gallery, the Cumberland.

Hampton Court Palace, River Thames in foreground.

Some travel disruption in the form of a cancelled flight from Reykavik to Akureryi and then missing the bus that would have taken me home to Olafsfjordur meant spending NYE in Akureyri. Virtually any public holiday in Iceland means lots of fireworks... and this was the big one. The town centre featured displays by any family that cared to turn up. Then after these had more or less died down at 1am, the bars opened.

Akureyri [Aku to us locals], NYE.

My day in Reykavik was a bit blustery and cold, but still fine for walking around town and spending a bit of time at the lake there, next to which is the local government office, which seems to gorw out of the lake itself. There were lots of waterbirds there too.

The back of the building evokes the old turf houses of Iceland.

Last night is was the end of the Christmas period here, allowing another chance for fireworks and probably the biggest bonfire I've ever seen, about the size of a small house.

Bonfire night in Siglufjordur - as if this wasn't enough, there was a man standing by to periodically throw buckets of petrol on it.

It has generally been snowy and white here -

But a couple of times, including last night, we have had some rain, which washes away the snow and then freezes. The last time this happened a lot of the town looked like this - glassy ice everywhere which was quite a challenge to walk on.

Some nice smooth ice to walk on on Olafsfjhordur.

Of course, I would be lying if I didn't mention we have been out looking for the aurora a lot. It is a bit unpredictable - the aurora itself and then cloud cover, as well as the time of night it might be there. After some attempts though I did get some decent pictures. Sometimes though it's just better to stand and watch.

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