New Year is always such a big deal. All the people asking where I’m gonna celebrate it, so this time I finally had a confusing answer. I decided to spend New Year in Zagreb, Bonn, Copenhagen and Reykjavik. It sounds a bit impossible but I actually had connecting flights via those cities on 1st January. I also like to believe the first day of the year determines the rest of it so this would mean I’d be on the road again a lot… wouldn’t really be cool to spend it at home hungover anyway. When I think about it, the world might be a better place if we’d all celebrate New Year one day before and wake up on the first day of the year with a clear head 🙂
First, the Lipstick trip to Iceland was ahead of us and we were about to experience the real Icelandic winter for a full three weeks. At the beginning I was a bit skeptical about very little daylight but it turned out none of us minded waking up at 11AM, with the sun, and still feeling like an early bird. Basa [Stevulova] arrived the day after me with no luggage, since it ended up on the other side of the world, Urska [Pribosic] followed a few days after, also with no luggage, not because it was lost but because she just didn’t carry any. The last person was Lele [Eleonora Raggi], our photographer; she on the other hand came with lots of luggage and went home with twice more just because she’s Italian and has to buy shoes every time any store is open.
Reykjavik usually doesn’t get much snow and it caught the locals completely off guard. The only way to move through the streets full of snow was to drive a huge jeep with spikes on the tires, so we got one. Our local guide and friend ‘Super Ingo’ hooked us up with all the vehicles we needed so we could roll around the city with ease. If you arrive in Iceland and are welcomed with a clear day you will be amazed with what you see around you. It’s difficult to describe it, since you have nothing in the world to compare it to and that’s exactly what happened to us. Daylight there lasts for 4 to 5 hours and it’s always like sunrise or sunset so our south European minds couldn’t get used to the time and we always seemed to be a bit lost.
We spent 12 days in Reykjavik, making the best of it and enjoyed the hospitality of the people. We were basically allowed to ride any spot we wanted once we explained what we were doing and people we’re pleased to see us there having fun. One day we even ended on the cover of the daily newspaper since the local reporter took a picture of us riding the rail. I don’t know if there’s little happening or they just like something different, but where else in the world would people be so happy with you riding street rails to put it on the cover of the newspaper?
If the weather wasn’t so tricky that place would be perfect but Geiri (from Nikita) always says weather in Iceland is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get. Every morning we would wake up in different conditions, from snow and ice to rain and wind… We experienced every condition there was five times a day and it wasn’t making our shooting any easier. Building spots in the dark, finding them melted or frozen the next day…things are never how you imagine them to be but once the day is over and you know you tried your best, there’s no need to stress over it.
After Reykjavik we headed north to Akureyri in search of more snow but all that awaited us was ice. I’m usually very confident walking anywhere but there I was falling off my feet at least three times every day. At one point we even considered re-booking our flights and going back home but that night we were awarded with the craziest polar lights and we realized that even if we couldn’t ride, we could enjoy everything around us. We visited the big waterfalls, national park, walked through lava fields and even found hot springs. Finally after a few days we were awarded with fresh snow and we continued riding. Again people were so kind to even help us build spots with their machines and absolutely approved what we were doing, probably because of the Helgassons, since it’s their home town and people are no strangers to snowboarders.
The last two days were definitely the funniest ones since we were anxious to do as much as possible and nothing worked as it should have. First we locked ourselves out of the apartment, which was not that bad since there was another person who had the key and let us in, but the next day the van locked itself from the inside with all our gear and the key just after we shaped the whole spot. Play of the month was Urska and Basa, who broke into the van with a single branch and a rope. I had to be proud of my Balkan ladies!
All in all it was an interesting month, full of ups and downs, but once you know you can count on your friends and stick as a team in every situation there’s nothing to worry about. Thanks Nikita for letting us stay in your place, thanks girls for making my life so much fun, thanks all the Icelandic people for being so awesome. We will be back soon!