CNN Travel about Iceland (KH)

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katharinahauptmann02_dlIceland is becoming more and more popular among travelers and tourism is booming these days. In the past weeks, American news channel CNN has jumped on board and covered the island of fire and ice in its travel program CNNGo.

I was curious to see how this famous TV channel would be covering my adopted home so I watched and read everything they have published so far.

The first thing I watched was a video of Californian Chris Smith who filmed himself juggling around the island (Iceland Review published a video of him here in June). Yes, juggling.

Chris is throwing around three yellow juggling balls at popular locations like Gullfoss waterfall, Þingvellir National Park, vast lava fields, black beaches, fjords, the Blue Lagoon and so on.

I have to say, quite an interesting idea and certainly entertaining to watch. Compared to many, many other more or less interesting travel videos of Iceland that are to be found online, this is surely one of the most remarkable ones.

I have tried to juggle many times but so far I have failed miserably. So heads up to Chris!

The next topic CNNGo picked up is a story about elves. My first thought was “How original.”  But let’s see.

The article Elf School Spills Secrets of Iceland’s ‘Hidden People’ deals mostly with the Elf School in Reykjavík and describes a couple of elf sightings. Of course it is also mentioned that sometimes people built around rocks that are rumored to house the so called ‘hidden people’ (as elves are also called) instead of just removing the rock as they do not want to offend the elves.

I know some Icelanders might believe in elves but this article is, in my opinion, really pointless as it is just about clichés. Icelanders and their belief in elves. “How original” is my final thought about this piece. Especially using the picture of an elf of the Lord Of The Rings movie for this article is really missing the point.

The next segment in the coverage of Iceland is a small guide about Reykjavik’s coolest bars. I think the selection of writer Sarah Reid is excellent and it is obvious that she really did some research and contacted locals. All of the eleven featured establishments are definitely the hippest places right now.

Even I, who thought I knew everything about Reykjavík’s bars and coffee houses, didn’t know Tíu Dropar was selling Kvöldsól, the only Icelandic wine brand. I guess I have to pay it a visit soon.

Another piece is a short feature about How to be Cool in Reykjavík. In this video, a few Icelanders explain typical characteristics and things they like about Iceland’s capital and its inhabitants. I think most of the points are legit but I wish this report had been a bit more detailed.

Also, when it comes to typical Icelandic fashion the report fails, in my opinion. It is certainly true that a lot of people wear the typical woolen sweaters but describing the typical Reykjavík look as “outdoorsy” doesn’t do it justice. Icelanders dress really nicely, fancy and hip.

So this segment is also lacking something.

Thermal Pools and Comfy Sweaters, on the other hand, is a great feature about Iceland and its capital. We have, for instance, a guide showing viewers some of Iceland’s most stunning locations and explaining a lot about the island’s geology. Unnsteinn Stefánsson, singer of popular band Retro Stefson, introduces us to Iceland’s music scene and the famous Iceland Airwaves music festival. And there are many more interesting topics covered in this segment.

If you want to get to know Iceland or rather Reykjavík, you can just skip most of the CNN coverage (sorry CNN) and just stick to the bar guide and the report Thermal Pools and Comfy Sweaters.

Or just come to Iceland and make up your own mind!

Katharina Hauptmann – katha.hauptmann@gmail.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.