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The Babalú Coffee House & Graffiti in Central Reykjavik

A month or two after getting back from last year's trip to Iceland, I noticed on my analytics page that my blog had attracted a massive seven visitors who were based in Iceland. 'That's strange.' I thought. 'I haven't even mentioned, let alone blogged about Iceland yet. Why am I attracting visitors?' It was at this point that I recalled scrawling my blog address on the wall of a Reykjavik coffee shop. Don't worry, readers: it was perfectly legal.

Any UK-based coffee house would have shown me the door as I graffitied this here url across their wall, but this was the Babalú Coffee House.  And you soon realise upon arriving in Iceland that it has the highest concentration of cool, calm and creative types than just about anywhere else in the world.  Iceland is like the coolest place you've ever visited...just better.  It's so hip that it could bring that very word back into fashion.  

Situated on the Skólavördustigur road and roughly between Hallgrimskirkja (the Church of Iceland) and 12 Tónar (Reykjavik's most popular music store), the Lonely Planet guide called the first-floor coffee shop "more inviting than your own living room."  And I happen to agree with them.  

As I took my seat, I noticed a small tray of chalk on my table.  I looked at it as if it were a small exotic bird.  'What is this?'  I thought.  'And how did it get here?'  Not just on my table - every table!  Agreed: it wasn't your standard condiment, but there again: this wasn't your standard coffee shop.  I wondered whether it was edible, like the flavoured cigarette-shaped sticks you used to have as a kid, but a lick soon proved otherwise.  Then I noticed the graffiti on the wall to the left of me (pictured below): a brick-sized comment from past customers that almost rose to the ceiling.

'How can I express myself in one brick?'  I thought as I tried to drink away the taste of chalk.  And then came the self-promotion.  Well, it's not every day you're invited to write on a wall.     

And now for other (assumed) legal graffiti that helps make Reykjavik such a bohemian and memorable place.  Please note: no cats, giraffes or robots were harmed in the taking of these pictures. 

Giraffe: I have come here to chew BUBBLEGUM and kick ass. 

The poem on the above wall reads as follows: 

Just look at how the mountains so very mighty be,
sharp as razors at the top they span the land and sea, 
but don't forget that though majestic spires capped with snow, 
from each and every single grain of sand they grow.

Robot Wars.  Craig Charles eat your heart out.

How do you solve a problem like melting roof tiles?    


  1. Hi there! I love the Babalú. It used to be a nooky apartment before it turned into a coffee house. I knew the guy who used to live there. Haven't been there for a while though, but my picture was hanging on the wall some time during a photo display. Reykjavik is such a small world.


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