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Saturday, 29 April, 2006

Impressions Of Iceland
(with comments)

This week's country: Iceland.

I've always been kind of fascinated with Iceland. Maybe someday I'll visit. It's pretty small -- smaller than the state of Kentucky.

  1. By john beardsworth. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @09:05am:
    Great place. Been twice and driven all round the island. The scenery is superb, very raw and weird rock - like S Utah and N Arizona have unique shapes, only in Iceland they're volcanic black, deserts are black, beaches are black, and there are loads of waterfalls. One stunning place is the great Sandur, a flat black desert that one of the volcanoes adds to every few years in a flood that washes away the main road and bridges (the volcano's below an ice cap and creates a lake which spews across the land). Must go places are the Blue Lagoon, Jokulsarlon where a glacier meets the sea, Dettifoss waterfall...I could go on and on.

    No great memories of the food or the beer - I think I must eaten something though. Equally no great memories of people there but I suspect there are some.

    And by the way, we the Brits have never invaded or bombed it so it's an even more unusual country.

  2. By wally the duck. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @10:36am:
    I had neighbors once who had lived in Iceland, He was in the US Navy; she had a job shoveling codfish into bins using a scoop shovel.
    She also had a fabulously dirty mouth.
  3. By John Donaldson. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @11:21am:
    Iceland will be the first wholly non-fossil fuel economy.

    Their geothermal will provide energy for hydrogen production.
  4. By MAYORBOB. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @12:42pm:
    Things I know about Iceland:

    1. That's where Bjork is from.

    2. They had a fight with the UK once over fishing rights. Supposedly the combatants bombarded each other with mashed potatoes. Now, if they had included gravy, we'd be talking about using weapons of mass destruction.
  5. By Andie. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @12:47pm:
    All I know about Iceland I learned from this HBO movie The Girl in the Cafe or the photos on this site Woophy. The photos of Iceland all look like picture postcards. I too would like to visit Iceland.
  6. By Bessi. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @01:16pm:
    John, you have invaded us! You did in the Second World War. Although there was no bombing, as we have never had any army, we did ask you to politely to leave so it does count as an invasion (and we do always refer to it as an invasion here).
  7. By Juls. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @01:27pm:
    My university, Western Michigan, has a large and well respected medieval studies dept. producing lots of work on Nordic cultures. Iceland is particularly studied because their parliament, the Althing, is the oldest in the world and kept good records.

    One of the final papers produced in my lit. crit. class this semester was entitled "Queer Eye for the Viking Guy" and dealt with perceptions of homosexuality and gender in early Christian Iceland. Apparently, if a man accused another man of being gay, the slandered man was obligated to kill the offender in order to prove his heterosexuality.

    We also have a handful of Icelandic graduate students, one of whom is 6'5", blonde, blue-eyed and named Thor. Everytime I see him I want to give him a battle-hammer. The Icelandic government pays for their healthcare while they live abroad pursuing their degrees. Made me seriously think about emigrating.
  8. By Original Zen. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @01:34pm:
    Only Iceland connection I've got--except for Icelandic poppies (Papaver nudicaule)--was an Icelandic girl I spent a long and...fun evening with while at UBC. She was waiting for her dad to send one of his ships through the NW Passage with all of her personal belongings. You'll be able to windsurf that route soon, our American friends. Do believe that Icelanders and Canadians share that...nordic melancholy though. That manic borealis sort of thing...

    Next, the Arctic sovereignty dispute...

  9. By Dinsdale Piranha. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @01:55pm:
    I went to Iceland in 1987 to go on a horse trek. I flew from NY to Reykjavik and then took a small prop plane to a town in the north called Akureyri.
    The Icelandic horse is a unique critter. Most are not bigger than 14 hands and they are five gaited. The fifth gait is called the Tolt. Horse people in the US call it a "rack" , only one foot hits the ground at a time and the result is an incredible smooth ride. You feel like you are floating. The horses are tough as hell and manage to do this in any kind of terrain. I rode in a giant mob of horses
    that all ran loose with us like a cattle drive. Changing horses every hour or so.
    Heres a site with some video that shows exactly what its like.
    The weather in August was in the 50-60 F range. One thing to remember is to pack is a swim suit, they have the most incredible heated pools there.
    A traveler to Iceland should also like to eat fish. They don't eat much else.
  10. By Andie. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @02:05pm:
    6'5", blonde, blue-eyed and named Thor
    Oh my!
  11. By Lobo. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @02:18pm:
    Dins watched "John Petur catches a remount" and have one big question. How did he make that horse stop dead in it's tracks? Amazing.
  12. By John Beardsworth. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @02:24pm:
    Bessi, didn't know that - I'll colour Iceland red on my map.

    Another thing I hope I know, they don't have surnames but use patronymics, so I'd be called John Davidsson and my fictional sister would be Angelina Davidsdottir. Cool eh?

  13. By Dinsdale Piranha. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @03:04pm:

    I put it down to Vibes and Experience
  14. By Don. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @05:57pm:
    I'm fascinated by Iceland too. Sounds like they're serious about eliminating the need for fossil fuel. I bet they'll get to their target soon.
    My name would be Donald Alexson if I'd been born there.
  15. By Bisbonian. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @07:25pm:
    My mother's side of the family came from Ísland in 1881, settling first in Canada near Winnipeg, and then in North Dakota. They took the name Reykdal, since that was where they were from...a misty valley east of the capitol. I have been there a couple of times, courtesy of the USAF. Wide open countryside, grassy hills, galcier covered mountains, geysers, beaches...pretty amazing scenery. We bathed in the "Blue Lagoon", a pond discharged from a geothermal plant near Keflavík. They raise their own breed of furry and sturdy ponies, as draft animals, mounts, and even meat. I didn´t eat any, but I did eat the other specialty: cod. Icelanders are almost embarrassed to serve you cod; it is their simple everyday food. But it was excellent...flaky and fresh, lightly battered and quickly fried. And walking around Reykjavík, I kept thinking I saw my brother and sister!
  16. By Bisbonian. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @07:29pm:
    sorry...a few more words...my great-grandmother, who babysat my sister and I after school, was named Svanhilður Jónsdóttir Reykdal.
  17. By Original Zen. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @07:45pm:
    Bisbonian, entertaining read.
  18. By Dinsdale Piranha. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @08:21pm:
    The fish in Iceland is not always as wonderful as Bisbonian's
    experience. Sometime they will just throw a piece in the microwave with no seasonings and call that dinner. Another thing don't call their Horses Ponies
    they take exception to that.
  19. By mare. Comment posted 29-Apr-2006 @08:37pm:
    I wonder who does all the work in Iceland? It seems that all Icelanders are artists, poets, writers, singers or musicians. A side effect of long winternights? Or is just everybody artistically gifted because of centuries without war and good education for everybody?
  20. By daveyboy. Comment posted 30-Apr-2006 @05:11am:
    Holy crap! I can't believe no one has said anything about "Lazy Town".
  21. By DGr. Comment posted 30-Apr-2006 @10:20pm:
    It's pretty cold there, you know Iceland.
  22. By Danny Yee. Comment posted 30-Apr-2006 @11:24pm:
    I've been to Iceland! Check out my trip report (and photographs) here.
  23. By jc_planet. Comment posted 01-May-2006 @10:34am:
    I took a long January weekend to Iceland a couple of years ago. January? Yes it had just snowed before we arrived, but being from Minnesota it didn't seem harsh. The climate is more mild & temperate than MN. Its really a beautiful place. The geo-thermal energy is pretty cool, or warm really - geysers, waterfalls, heated greenhouses. I went swimming in one of the many outdoor swimming pools in Reykjavik. I also visited the blue lagoon - http://www.bluelagoon.com/. Its a thermal lake/spa - highly recommended.
    I found restaurants pretty expensive, beer & wine expensive too. Another discovery is the Iceland liquor. Not surprisingly, its very earthy tasting.
  24. By Benj. Comment posted 01-May-2006 @12:24pm:
    "The Icelandic horse is a unique critter. Most are not bigger than 14 hands..." I am sure they are. But the last time I saw an Icelandic horse was on a menu in Reykjavik. 'Foal and potatoes'.
  25. By Dinsdale Piranha. Comment posted 01-May-2006 @05:22pm:
    Thats right Benj they eat horses and even have a strain within the breed that is bred for the table. When you are a Viking you eat anything that moves. Skol Bro.
  26. By OZ. Comment posted 01-May-2006 @05:24pm:
    Dinsdale!, classic Friday night surf music. Thanks.
  27. By Mean Jean. Comment posted 01-May-2006 @05:36pm:
    Horses are just another link in the food chain in many countries.
  28. By Dinsdale Piranha. Comment posted 01-May-2006 @06:48pm:
    You're Welcome OZ

    The only problem with the picture MJ is stuff like Butazolodin.
    Horses get lame and the people call the Vet and he/she gives them meds...and you know what it usually says on the label? Not intended for horses which are used as food.

    Time to Hurl...
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