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16 April 2018 / leggypeggy

A glimpse of days gone by in Iceland

Church at Árbær Open Air Museum

Visiting the church

Inside the church at Árbær Open Air Museum

Our guide talks about the history of the church. The pulpit is in the corner on the right

Parts of the United States and Canada are copping a battering this week with slow-moving storms generating record snowfall and low temperatures. Thousands are without power, air travellers are stranded, and icy conditions are making roads especially dangerous. Treacherous times.

Upper Michigan and Wisconsin are predicted to get as much as 18 inches (46 centimetres) of snow. It would be the perfect time to stay indoors, but braver souls make the most of it.

My nephew, Charlie, and his wife, Hannah, celebrated the arrival of ‘spring’ in Minneapolis by donning their bathers (swimsuits) and barbecuing on the roof of their snow-covered apartment building. I was delighted to see their sense of the ridiculous and chirpiness in the face of adversity (scroll down).

Bedroom, Árbær Open Air Museum

It also reminded me of our recent travels in Iceland and our willingness to tramp around in the snow to visit the Árbær Open Air Museum in Reykjavik.

Originally an established farm, Árbær was opened to the public as a museum in 1957. It is one of five locations that make up the Reykjavik City Museum.

Árbær Open Air MuseumStone building, Árbær Open Air Museum

Today the museum has more than 20 traditional buildings that form a village with a town square, houses, a church, stables, a barn, a blacksmith and more. Most of the buildings were originally 19th century homes in central Reykjavik, and relocated to Árbær.

We arrived a bit before the museum opened (at 1pm September to May, otherwise 10am) and for a while I thought we’d be the only people on the tour, but in the end there were about 25 visitors, including several families.

Houses, Árbær Open Air Museum

Our guide (I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember her name) gave an informative tour, explaining the different buildings, as well as the contents and histories of some of the residents of the past.

She gave us a real feel for life in earlier times in Iceland, and even demonstrated how to card wool. It was nice to see her in period dress. It also tickled me that she was also the person featured on the front of the museum’s brochure that we saw displayed around town.

Wood stove, Árbær Open Air Museum

Being the avid cook that I am (check out my cooking blog), Im always very interested in seeing the old kitchens and equipment. Every house in the museum had a wood stove. Im pleased to say that I have one too—not as old as the one pictured above. Sadly, it doesn’t get used as much as it used to.

In summer months, the museum presents art-and-craft demonstrations including traditional handicrafts. Visitors can also see haymaking, vintage cars and livestock. There is also a cafe.

P.S. I didn’t add captions to all the photos because many are self-explanatory.

P.P.S. Aren’t Charlie and Hannah good sports!

Hannah and Charlie celebrating spring in Minnesota

Hannah and Charlie celebrating spring in Minnesota


Leave a Comment
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Apr 16 2018 5:19 pm

    What a fun and informative visit. Love all these photos showing a lifestyle long past. What looks romantic or quaint to us must have taken lots of time to actually live decades ago – time to do all the necessary tasks to make supper, to wash clothes, to get about the community. What is the raised building in the gate?

    As for Hannah and Charlie – I think the cold has gotten to them – in a funny way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2018 5:57 pm

      Oh Sharon, you have that right. We think something is quaint now, but we don’t have to struggle to use it. I noticed the green, old-fashioned, hand-operated coffee grinder on the kitchen shelf. My folks had one of those and I was chief grinder. I suppose it kept me busy and out of trouble.

      The raised part at the gate is just a roof. I wonder if it was over a porch in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Andrew Petcher / Apr 16 2018 5:35 pm

    I have been to Iceland three times but never seen any snow. Spring in Minnesota looks fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2018 5:58 pm

      Obviously you need to go in winter. 🙂


      • Andrew Petcher / Apr 16 2018 5:59 pm

        Even in Winter I saw no snow, a lot of ice but no snow. I did see the Northern Lights though!

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2018 6:03 pm

        The Northern Lights are the best thing to see!


      • Murray Foote / Apr 16 2018 7:40 pm

        I saw lots of snow when I went to Iceland in autumn but I did hire a 4wd to go to the highlands.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2018 7:53 pm

        We didn’t get to the highlands. Maybe next time.


  3. Shiva Malekopmath / Apr 16 2018 5:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing
    Being in the Southern part of India we never ever experience Snow fall

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Miriam / Apr 16 2018 5:46 pm

    Wonderful pics of an era long gone. Yes, they are good sports!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. efge63 / Apr 16 2018 5:54 pm

    Wonderful … I feel lucky reading you~!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. gerard oosterman / Apr 16 2018 6:38 pm

    Did have a cup-o-tea on a wood fire in a -25C forest in Finland but not in shorts or swimsuit. I wanted to impress my future wife, Helvi.
    I am surprised the sausages on the barbecue in the picture weren’t shrivelled up.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. derrickjknight / Apr 16 2018 6:42 pm

    More well presented history. Good for Hannah and Charlie – but they are nuts 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2018 7:55 pm

      I remember the first time I saw Charlie and Hannah together. Barbecuing in a blizzard is just what I’d expect of them. Such a zest for life.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. thewonderer86 / Apr 16 2018 7:13 pm

    I can hardly believe it, but Charlie and Hannah look like they’re enjoying it!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Murray Foote / Apr 16 2018 7:44 pm
    • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2018 7:57 pm

      Thanks for the link. I can see the similarities.


  10. lmo58 / Apr 16 2018 7:57 pm

    Thanks Peggy it’s always good to see history presented authentically. How long did Charlie and Hannah stay out on their roof? They’re very brave! Frostbite chaser anyone?

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2018 7:58 pm

      I have no idea how long they stayed outside—probably until the sausages were done!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Vicki / Apr 16 2018 8:23 pm

    I love seeing old kitchens and cooking utensils too, Peggy. Almost as much as seeing how people lived in difficult conditions several hundred years ago. You have to admire the women and how much work was done by hand without the mod cons of the modern era.

    Charlie and Hannah must be brave souls to strip down in the snow and wind like that. I wonder how long they lasted 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2018 8:54 pm

      Fascinating to see the old kitchens and equipment, and sobering to think how hard daily life could be at times.

      I guess Hannah and Charlie are making a bit of a hardship statement, but I don’t know how long they lasted outside.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Chris Riley / Apr 16 2018 8:49 pm

    I adore museums that showcase days gone by, especially when the displays put items into an authentic type of setting. You photos look great. How do people keep from freezing to death in those places when there’s power outages? It must be awful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2018 8:56 pm

      Yes Chris, it is especially good to see the memorabilia in a relevant setting. As for power outages, I assume everyone had wood stoves, fireplaces and candles.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Anna / Apr 16 2018 10:31 pm

    And here I am whinging that Perth got down to 12c overnight and it was a cold morning! Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Emma Cownie / Apr 16 2018 11:48 pm

    Well done Hannah and Charlie, you nutters!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Sherry Thomas / Apr 16 2018 11:50 pm

    Love your blog

    Let’s talk soon. What’s app?61 402 995432?
    I am 5623059501

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 2 people

  16. dfolstad58 / Apr 17 2018 12:11 am

    Double story line- liked each of them. I like the ridiculous and was singing If I only had a brain during breakfast to peals of laughter from my son.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. WidgersWonderings / Apr 17 2018 12:13 am

    We had the same spring snow as Charlie and Hannah. I love how they made the best of things.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Phil Huston / Apr 17 2018 2:27 am

    For a brief (very brief) period of time we lived outside Philadelphia. It sleeted at the Mayfest! Seriously! We made it back to to Texas. People complain about the lack of seasons, nobody can drive in snow (three inches) but I’ll tell you one thing. Nobody ever threw their back out shoveling humidity. Jeez that looks cold. Pioneers and their technology change very little across the globe. Dust bowls or neck deep in snow. Shovels and wood stoves. Ouch.

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 17 2018 8:09 am

      Shovelling humidity! That would be something to see. I remember a blizzard that hit Nebraska on 8 May in the mid-1970s.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Phil Huston / Apr 17 2018 11:10 am

        Ouch! There’s an old Farmers rule in North Texas about wait till after Easter for the last freeze. Those must have been based on years with late Easters. In south Texas I mowed my yard on Christmas Eve…

        Liked by 2 people

      • leggypeggy / Apr 17 2018 11:28 am

        Christmas Eve? Weren’t you supposed to be drinking egg nog?

        Liked by 1 person

  19. beetleypete / Apr 17 2018 2:54 am

    Charlie and Hannah are much braver than me!
    I have always though that Iceland had the most apposite name of any country in the world. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 17 2018 8:10 am

      They say Iceland is green and Greenland is covered in ice. I can’t confirm either. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Curt Mekemson / Apr 17 2018 4:53 am

    The drink in Hannah’s hand seems to be just about the right size for the occasion. And Minnesotans are known for being a hardy bunch. 🙂 The Iceland crowd is even more hardy, however. BTW, I feel for all of our friends in the midwest. Another example of global warming leading to endless winter. (As I type, a hailstorm is beating down outside my home in Southern Oregon.) –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 17 2018 8:11 am

      I’m wondering if the drink is called a Hurricane! Would fit with the weather. Beggars belief that people still deny climate change.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curt Mekemson / Apr 18 2018 3:13 am

        I remember the Hurricane drink from New Orleans. Lots of rum. Er, I mean lots and lots of rum. 🙂 I think that the major forces that deny climate change are those who find denying climate change profitable and don’t care about anything other than their immediate bottom line. –Curt

        Liked by 3 people

      • leggypeggy / Apr 18 2018 7:40 am

        Sadly, I think you’re right Curt.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Halpenny-Killip, Mary / Apr 17 2018 6:32 am

    Hi Peg,

    You seem to like travel extremes! (Weren’t you just on an African safari about a week ago???)


    Liked by 3 people

  22. Christie / Apr 17 2018 7:03 am

    In Toronto area we had freezing rain (and strong winds) in the past 2 days. I think we will skip the spring this year 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 17 2018 8:06 am

      The weather has been dreadful over much of the northern part of North America. You have my sympathy.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Bryan Fagan / Apr 17 2018 12:02 pm

    Beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. The Whitechapel Whelk / Apr 17 2018 5:04 pm

    I can’t believe you forgot the name of your guide. What are you exactly? Some kind of prowling, slavering, forgetful beast of the field??!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  25. paolsoren / Apr 17 2018 9:19 pm

    The real wonder of it all to me is that we never learned anything about places like Iceland. Iceland was just a large uninhabited part of Arctic wilderness. How lucky I am that I can now connect because you have such a great story to tell and pictures to see.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Monica Graff / Apr 17 2018 10:26 pm

    That’s the spirit! Brrrrrr!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. chattykerry / Apr 18 2018 1:35 am

    Well, you can tell that they live in the north! I would shrivel up and die like a lizard in the cold. 🦎Fascinating shots of the museum in Iceland. There are a few in Texas and life must have been pretty harsh back in the day with no air conditioning.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 18 2018 7:41 am

      No air conditioning, no washing machines, no dishwashers—hasn’t the world changed!

      Liked by 2 people

      • chattykerry / Apr 19 2018 4:12 am

        I did not have dishwasher until I moved to America in 2004. It sat empty and forlorn until my American friend removed my fear of it. Now I love it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Apr 19 2018 2:57 pm

        Poor John bought our first dishwasher. He was sick of doing dishes.


  28. taxipontianaksite / Apr 19 2018 12:29 pm

    Good day

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 19 2018 2:59 pm

      Good day to you too. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.


  29. jeanleesworld / Apr 25 2018 12:23 pm

    Brave souls, your kin! I can’t complain–southern Wisconsin got off pretty easy with just 8 inches from that storm. Nearly all was melted by the weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Lynz Real Cooking / May 1 2018 9:20 am

    Oh my gosh what a bbq!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. WabiSabiLuxury / May 15 2018 5:34 pm

    You really had an amazing journey!! Beautiful pictures😍😍
    You must check out articles on Iceland trip on our blog

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 16 2018 1:32 pm

      Thanks so much. I look forward to checking out your blog when I’m home from my current travels.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Humanisedcolours / May 15 2018 7:23 pm

    Nature’s beauty ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Madhuri Sunkireddy / Jul 19 2018 3:50 pm


    Liked by 1 person


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