The corrugated iron houses of Reykjavik (plus—wait for it now—cats)

These days I’m less excited about traveling for sights and more interested in experiencing uniquely specific culture. In Reykjavik, its corrugated iron houses are just this special sort of thing I love.

These houses started out as wood and then they were covered with sheets of corrugated iron. I’m sure you’ve gone out on a blustery day and thrown on a windbreaker over your outfit—that’s what’s going on here too. Wood alone is just not going to a match for Iceland’s climate.

Here’s a close up of an iron sheet meeting a baseboard.

I read somewhere that corrugated iron has to cure for a while before it is painted, which must be why there a lot of plain iron-gray buildings around Reykjavik.

Not to worry, though, these buildings don’t stay dull looking for long.

I like the simple shapes combined with the bright colors.

Not cute enough for you? Let me tell you about the cats.

Cats in the windows of the corrugated-covered houses.

Cats lounging on sidewalks in front of the houses, not giving any fudge about you, human who lives in a boring brick or wooden house.

HOB and I have never been on a trip where we’ve spent so long in one city. And Reykjavik is a small city.

When we got back someone asked me if I got bored.

I didn’t get bored. Every time we went for a walk I wanted to keep going around a new corner, looking for more of these corrugated houses, familiar in materials to the grain elevators and other strictly utilitarian structures from the midwestern US, but so much more charming in their practical cheeriness.

How we got to Reykjavik: flight from Chicago.

Where we slept: Baldursbrá Apartment Laugarvegur.  Price: €111 for a double (including food).  Recommended: yes.

6 comments

  1. The ‘sights’ are the sights, but how people live is much more interesting.
    A lot of corrugated iron sheets on houses here…probably termite proof!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah but Icelandic termites are reared on lava fields—iron sheets are but light biscuits to them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Corrugated sheets over wood, what a great engineering solution. The corrugated sheets trap air between the layers and provide better insulation. Weather proofing and insulation all in one colourful package!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and an evolution from the turf house, which also provides excellent insulation using practical materials.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. All I ever want to do when I travel is walk, eat, drink. It’s enough! How was the food?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our favorite was the chocolate covered licorice, and licorice ice cream.

      Liked by 1 person

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