Ástþór

Ástþór and his island landscape

Ástþór and his island landscape

Item: Westman Islands landscape

Ástþór (who calls himself Astor for non-Icelandic tongues) grew up in Vestmannaeyjar, a town in the Westman Islands which lie to the south of the Icelandic mainland. Growing up in Vestmannaeyjar was great fun, with the Þjóðhátið (national festival) every summer, the lava from the 1973 eruption—still steaming throughout the 1980s—to explore, and ‘search and rescue missions’ for pufflings (baby puffins) who got lost in the town and and had to be returned to their burrows, meaning the children could stay up much later than usual.

He arrived in London in late August 2004 but continued to return to Iceland for a few months at a time, however he has called London home since early 2008.

Ástþór’s lopapeysa was knitted for his younger brother by their mother, but when she realised about four or five years ago that he wasn’t really wearing it, she gave it to Ástþór instead. He calls it a ‘hand-me-up’ from his brother.

The photo he took on his phone is a picture of the south end of Heimaey, the largest of the Westman Islands on which his home town of Vestmannaeyjar (which is also Icelandic for Westman Islands) is located. It was taken from the top of Eldfell, the volcano that erupted in January 1973, and was the first time he’d climbed both Helgafell (the volcano you can see in the picture, on the right) and Eldfell in the same walk. The weather was really clear meaning he got some beautiful photos even (as he says) ‘with a shitty camera in a phone’! These photos remind Ástþór why he still loves his home town.