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About the Icelanders 9: Traffic culture

Earlier this week I wrote a brief rant treatise about the Icelanders’ irreverence when it comes to other people’s cars, and their motoring skills in general. I was not kidding about this. Once I had a conversation with someone who was working at one of the embassies in town. He told me that the ambassador […] Read more

Double rainbow

Last summer I did a fabulous tour around Iceland to distribute my books to retailers. We drove the south->north route, and one of our first stops was at Seljalandsfoss in the south, one of Iceland’s most stunning waterfalls [it’s the one you can walk behind]. As it happened it was a beautiful sunny day [one of the few sunny […] Read more

Not all of the Icelanders’ quirks are as endearing as their phone book shenanigans. Take their treatment of car doors, for example. If you live in Iceland you will undoubtedly soon notice that most cars more than a year old have numerous small-ish dents and scratches on their sides. This is because the people who […] Read more

Speaking of the phone book: did you know that, in Iceland, your profession is listed in the phone book, and you can make that profession be whatever you want? By which I mean: you don’t have to show up with proof of your profession if you want it to be listed in the phone book. […] Read more

Nature’s artwork

I am a fan of the small stuff. As much as Iceland’s magnificent natural wonders and open vistas can stun and amaze, I sometimes feel like the real beauty of this country is incorporated in the things that you see when you look down; when you look closer. Like those tiny flowers that you find […] Read more

Did you know that the Icelanders address everyone, from the president to the local garbage collector, by their first names? Children even call their teachers by their first names, and the Icelanders are listed by their first names in the phone book. The only slight deviation from this is that the head of state [a.k.a. […] Read more

This illustration is by Iceland’s most famous vagabond, Sölvi Helgason, who called himself Sólon Íslandus. If the name sounds familiar it is because there is a restaurant/bar in downtown Reykjavík by that name. Sölvi was born into poverty in 1820 and from the age of six was fostered out to various farms. He started roaming […] Read more

Secret cave with waterfall

This image looks like it is upside-down, but it is actually the roof of a cave high up on a mountain on Snæfellsnes peninsula that has a waterfall tumbling in front of it – kind of like a miniature Seljalandsfoss. A couple of years ago EPI and I decided on a whim to take a couple of […] Read more

Factoids about the Icelanders 4

Even though it was the law to have a place at a farm, sometimes people were not able to secure a place for themselves because no farm wanted to take them in. [This was especially true when times were hard and farms just couldn’t take on more mouths to feed, like after a volcanic eruption.] […] Read more

Factoids about the Icelanders 3

Back in the old days, everyone in Iceland HAD to have a place to live, meaning they had to be a part of a household on a farm. It was the law. This meant that workers were obliged to find a position, and while there, they were under the complete and utter authority of the farmer […] Read more