Bára Gísladóttir is a contrabass player and composer who recently won the Léonie Sonning Talent Prize in Denmark, as well as a “Shout Out” at the last Grapevine Music Awards. “I haven’t lived in Iceland for some years,” she says, “but when I come back, I’ve often been lucky enough to stay at friends’ places in downtown Reykjavík where I used to live.”
I can’t stand staying still, so after a night of just LYING THERE, I head out ASAP (I often prepare for this action to take the minimum possible amount of time by having my clothes and gear strictly ready in the spirit of a stuck-up fascist). My usual choice is Reykjavík Roasters at Kárastígur, which I still call Kaffismiðjan, causing general confusion amongst my co-humans. There, I order a black coffee and drink refills on empty stomach, because, as everyone knows, that’s how coffee functions best and your body makes the most out of it. I answer my emails and get working on the piece I’m composing at that time.
In the morning
After a few hours, when the coffee fog hits me, I walk up to Hallgrímskirkja and maybe say hello to my friends in the sculpture garden at the Einar Jónsson Museum. From there I head down my old street Þórsgata, and make a right on the corner, driving the rumbling stomach even crazier. It’s time for the first meal of the day—lunch!
My absolutely favourite restaurant in town is Snaps. They have a beautifully tasty menu, and offer some good deals during lunch time. I recommend the catch of the day or the moules frites. When I treat myself to Snaps (which may possibly happen a tiny touch too often), I often do so with some friends, but I also enjoy eating alone while staring out of the window in zombie mode.
In the afternoon
By now I’m most definitely feeling the guilt of not working enough creeping up on me like a slimy green monster, so I go wherever I’m keeping my double bass and practice for a few hours, and then continue writing that goddamn piece. Consequently, I’m sweaty and smelly, and hurry to Vesturbæjarlaug, where I swim some laps and visit all the hot tubs (a bit manically, some so-called “friends” have pointed out), making sure I don’t skip my beloved steam bath. After the pool, it is VERY important to have coffee immediately. The closest café is Kaffi Vest, where I drink some cups, preferably with a sweet dreamy “sara”, while I get more work done.
I love to go to one of the city’s (still hidden?) gems, Ban Thai. Reading through the endless menu will give you a headache of choice overload. I never remember what I have, so I always end up with a surprise—always terrifically delicious.
In the heat of the night
OHHHHHHH, THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT! Time for a drink maybe? I don’t really like going out much because I find all the places to be too loud. I’ll probably see what’s on in Mengi instead, and it will probably be something great.