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August 2010

Best of Reykjavík: Coffee!

OK, this is a really hard one, because Reykjavík has so many excellent cafés, and almost all of them serve great coffee. That said, and bearing in mind that these are totally subjective, here are my favorite places to get a good cup of coffee. Or at least those that pop into my mind first. […] Read more

Quirky Icelandic phrase 2

Time for another quirky Icelandic phrase! Only it’s not really a phrase, but a word: HVALREKI. Hvalreki literally means “beached whale” or “washed-ashore whale”, but in Icelandic it has come to mean a windfall of some sort. Such as: “Þetta verkefni var algjör hvalreki fyrir mig” [this assignment was a total beached whale for me]. […] Read more

Taking power from the people

Last night, a Bulgarian friend took AAH and me to Sunny Beach, a major resort about 20 km north of where we’re staying. He was extremely concerned that we’d leave Bulgaria with the impression that this quiet little village, which he claims stagnated about 200 years ago, was representative of the entire country. Sunny Beach […] Read more

Bulgarian death announcements

Here in Bulgaria — at least in this little village where we’re staying — they hang death announcements on the front gates of the homes of the deceased. Like so: Or on trees. Like so: At first we weren’t sure what they were, so we asked a store clerk who spoke English. She seemed really […] Read more

From my vantage point here in Bulgaria, I’ve been loosely following the news back home. Seems Minister of Economic Affairs Gylfi Magnússon is in deep doo-doo. Apparently he knew about the illegality of the FX loans more than a year ago, but chose not only to keep mum, but to lie about it to members […] Read more

On which book I picked in the end

Remember all those excellent book recommendations you had for me? I bet you’re all wondering which one I picked in the end. [Because you have nothing else to occupy your time, right?] Well, in the end I didn’t have time to go out looking for a book — you know how it is, that day […] Read more

2007: not just in Iceland

One of the most surprising and noticeable things about this little village we’re staying in here in Bulgaria [Sarafovo, pop. 4,000, just outside Burgas] is the number of half-built houses and empty commercial property. In the centre of the town and near the beach, almost every second house is half-finished. I’m not exaggerating. My first […] Read more

More on doing business with the Icelanders

Sigrún’s guest post from yesterday — about the Icelandic way of doing business — resonated with me bigtime. I knew some of you would feel the same way; after all, this is not a new discussion on this blog — a number of you have complained about the “wall of silence” that you’ve hit when […] Read more

Today’s guest post comes from journalist and writer Sigrún Davíðsdóttir, who is RÚV’s correspondent in London. Sigrún is widely agreed to be one of Iceland’s finest investigative reporters, and I am absolutely in awe of her ability to present some of the most complex scenarios in a language that a regular person can understand. She […] Read more

A dispatch from the Bulgarian countryside

So, AAH and I landed in Bulgaria yesterday and, um, it’s very hot here. In fact I am deeply embarrassed to think of all the clothes I brought, of which I will probably use only 0.01 percent. In other words, approximately one bikini, one pair of shorts, and one top. We’re staying in a wee […] Read more