Close to Iceland's Keflavík International Airport lies a special bridge. It connects two continents, America to the west and Europe to the east, as it lies across the point where two tectonic plates are diverging. A few minutes southwards from the bridge is Gunnuhver, a hot spring area named after a ghost.
16.09.2013 | 11:00
Crazy Little Land (JB)
Iceland. The country with the misleading name and an impulsive personality is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The city center of Reykjavík is full of people speaking tongues not native to this land from May to August, and the plan is to extend the peak season to all four seasons.
But what’s so interesting about Iceland?
Is it Icelander’s crazy mentality, the mentality that sometimes leads to rash decisions? Is it the weather that makes the nation’s people so unique?
Let’s talk about the food in Iceland. It’s a well known fact that Icelanders and Scandinavians have an affinity for liquorice, salty liquorice, sweet liquorice, and liquorice with chocolate. We just love our liquorice...
If the black Magnum was an Icelandic product it’d be the liquorice flavor, not the continental espresso flavor. An espresso flavored ice cream would spelled erroneously “expresso.”
Then there’s our obsession with feeding foreign visitors with food either smoked to death and or bitter-tasting at best. And we dedicate a whole month (mid-January to mid-February) to celebrate the limited food selection of our impoverished forefathers. The irony is that the Þorri buffets—Þorri being the fourth month of winter on the old Norse calendar—are far from cheap.
When we’re not celebrating food with questionably dubious taste we read books. We read and read and gift wrap books for other people to read. The peak season for authors is around Christmas because the holiday season is to authors like the New York Fashion Week is to Vera Wang.
Sure, there are some books that aren’t anything more than mediocre. But it’s surprising how many quality books we produce. Iceland produces more books per capita than any other country. And no, we don’t write them on sheep skin anymore so the writing process is much quicker.
We also have the coolest water. And I mean it’s cool because we drink it straight from the tap and it doesn’t taste like chlorine.
Water can sometimes cause trouble in Iceland. In the spring, glacial rivers occasionally overflow onto roads and grassy fields. Old-fashioned bridges look like an accidental platform in the middle of a raging brown beast.
Speaking of overflowing rivers and the elements, summer never came. But I guess we have next summer. It’s not a given that July will warm and sunny in Iceland.
If anything, last July proved that the summer blues were alive and well. It’s not so different from the winter blues. It’s just a state of constant agitation as expectations must always be low for good weather and high for bad weather. Can anyone blame us for frowning a bit?
But in all seriousness, Iceland is a unique place to visit. I have spent a lifetime wanting to be born somewhere else. Somewhere where the temperatures are warm, so hot in fact that taking a cold shower is preferable to taking a hot one.
These days I don’t mind as much as I used to. Sure it’d be nice to have memories of eternal summers like my husband. Then again, I didn’t grow up with bombs going off in large train stations or the population being segregated.
But my little Iceland has changed drastically. So has my husband’s enchanting South Africa. Both countries have the tools to mold a beautiful model for a prosperous and humane future.
I often wonder what the future of Iceland is. One thing that really gets to me, and I’ve mentioned it before, is that dogs are seen by some as -dangerous , too dangerous to let loose. Cats too are considered a plague.
But Iceland is still worth the visit. Just bring a little bit of crazy and get ready for an adventure.
I continue to be amazed by the incredible vibe and drive to be independent and create something. And I only left for a few years.
Do yourself a favor and visit Iceland.
Just don’t expect summer. Even though it is summer...
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