Dariia Dziuba's English Language School

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Title: Warming Up Short Days and Long Nights in Iceland (The New York Times, Kugel S., 27/12/2011)
Created by Dariia Dziuba

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Reykjavik is a clean, cozy city of 120,000 that has a reputation as . The creativity distinction seemed right: Iceland has more than its share of writers, poets and musicians, and, in the capital, plenty of Icelandic fashion brands were for sale. But the party talk seemed a little exaggerated, at least in winter — I found weekend madness, but not seven-day-a-week debauchery. After spending an evening at Boston (Laugavegur 28b), a cramped bar with an arty reputation, though, I can verify that Icelanders . A pint of Viking lager was 850 kronur — not cheap, but I’ve seen worse, and there was no cover.

Dining was another challenge. , so I shopped at the supermarket, as well as at the Kolaporthid weekend flea market, where I found great breads and strong Icelandic licorice that looked like cellphone cables but tasted much better. — especially the famed lamb hot dogs for 350 kronur — but by far the best deal I found was thanks to the Thai population, one of several East Asian immigrant groups chipping away at Iceland’s blonds-only image. At Noodle Station (Skolavorthustigur 21a), friendly women carefully assembled a vegetarian noodle soup (650 kronur) — .

Lodging was easier. The Baldursbra Guesthouse is a guidebook favorite — not usually my thing. But a last-minute reservation for one was only 6,500 kronur, over a third off its summer rates. (The owners, Evelyne Nihouarn and Philippe Le Bozec, recommend booking two months in advance for summer stays.) The mismatched twin beds and shared (but spotless) bathrooms were minor letdowns, but the breakfast spread , and the owners, a French couple from Brittany, were incomparable hosts. Ms. Nihouarn helped me make all my plans — attention she said she did not have time — and Mr. Le Bozec regaled me with stories of being a fisherman back home and prepared two thermoses of hot coffee for my ill-fated trip to Vik. (He also rushed into my room when I slept through my alarm the morning of my flight out.)

I had made the bold move to skip the famed Blue Lagoon, having heard that Icelanders, turned off by its $40 price tag, had largely stopped going. As a consolation, I bathed in Sundhollin, one of Reykjavik’s “hot pots,” (450 kronur) gets you what for Icelanders is a traditional activity: relaxing outdoors in geothermally heated pools.

My final stop was in Hveragerthi, a cute little town rumored to have a natural hot tub . I drove up to the end of the road, and trudged over a surreal landscape of lukewarm streams and geothermal steam blowing from holes in the earth like a dozen boiling tea kettles. I finally found the little pool, about the size of a bathtub. Seeing hypothermia in my future, I decided to simply dunk my hands in until they got toasty and stuck them back in my gloves.

A. I had missed on the way back from Reykjavik.
B. both a creative hot spot and a party town
C. nestled in the mountains behind it
D. Fast food was tolerable
E. blowing its top every 10 minutes or so.
F. drink heavily, dance a lot and are friendly to strangers
G. to give guests during busy summer months
H. The air temperature was around 25, degrees and I had no towel
I. of coffee, juice, granola, fruit and toast was great
J. the public pools scattered around the capital and where a small fee
K. a perfect dish to banish the winter chill
L. Sit-down meals can get pricey