My Travel Diaries of
Drink like a local: Brenivin (Caraway schnapps)
- Icelanders are very superstitious. Trolls and fairies still live in special places today. Construction sites for bridges, roads and buildings have already been demolished when someone noticed that there was an old fairy grove or that a troll lived there.
- The population of all of Iceland is smaller than that of the small German city of Bonn.
- Two thirds of the population lives in the capital Reykjavik.
- For its small population, Iceland does remarkably well in music and sports. The national football team regularly makes it into international competitions and Icelandic music is very successful in the charts and at the Eurovision Song Contest.
- A famous delicacy of Iceland is Hákarl. This is fermented Greenland shark that can live for hundreds of years and stores its urine in the body. Opening a can of Hákarl in public is punishable.
- If you want to insult an Icelander, call the country’s famous horses “ponies.”
- Icelanders are rather quiet people. Don’t expect spontaneous friendships.
- Whales are still hunted in Iceland. In addition to international protests, the topic is also hotly debated in our own country.
- In 2009 the country was hit hard by the global financial crisis. One year, out of frustration with the established parties, the candidate Besti Flokkurinn from a “fun” party came to power in the mayor’s office in Reykjavik. His campaign promises were “Free towels in every swimming pool” and “Polar bears in the zoo”. To everyone’s surprise, he actually managed to restore the country’s finances – especially because he also made uncomfortable decisions. He wasn’t interested in getting re-elected.
Icelandic is a very difficult language, but you don’t need to know anything about it. Icelanders speak excellent English. However, they have some special letters in their writing. In addition to the Latin alphabet, the vowels have the symbols á, é, í, ó, ú, ý, æ and ö. The consonant ð, which is pronounced like the English th, is also very common.
- Good day – Góðan dag
- Hello – Halló
- Smelly shark – Óþefjandi hákarl
- Sorry – Afsakið mig
- Can I park my car here or are fairies living here? – Má ég leggja hér eða búa álfar hér?
As in most Scandinavian countries, the currency in Iceland is the krona (ISK). This year (2014) you only get 0.0063 euros for one crown. At the same time, the country is also very expensive due to its remoteness. For a beer (0.5l) you have to budget around 1,200 ISK, i.e. around €8.28.
However, I didn’t see a single crown. You can pay with credit card everywhere. You can purchase any chewing gum digitally for just a few crowns. This also applies to the accommodations. I only needed cash once with my friends – when the credit card reader in a farm broke!
The rugged beauty of the country leaves me speechless
The island is a stunner. This is what the earth looks like as I can see it. Fresh volcanoes rise from the ocean, forming a bizarre landscape full of towers and sharp edges, on which soft moss grows, through which peaceful horses tol or herds of reindeer wander.
Glaciers, lakes, lava, icebergs, waterfalls, volcanoes… on a barren island in the North Atlantic. Tourists descend on the island in July and August. Out of season, the island offers itself in its unique beauty with the atmosphere of adventure on the edge of the world.