So today's topic for BEDJ is travel. For this, I thought I'd talk briefly about my favourite destination, Iceland.
That's right. It's not particularly warm or sunny, but it is wonderful.
I spent a week there a few years ago, traveling with a group of friends. We spent a few days in the largest city, Reykjavik, before renting a car and driving a bit along the southern coast, before heading back to Reyk and back towards home. Since I'm tired, and since I can go on about Iceland for pages and pages, I'll stick to a few quick facts.
- Iceland, despite the name, is actually relatively temperate. Temperatures tend to range between 0 and 15 Celsius (that's 14 and 55F, for you crazy Yanks).
- During the summer the sun is out more and more, eventually resulting in a full day of sunshine. The winter has the opposite effect, of course.
- Tired of old politicians, Reykjavik elected their equivalent of Jon Stewart as Mayor (I think; it's a little tough to read it all in translation, but a comedian running on a joke platform got elected and has so far done a decent job, from what I've read).
- The first lesbian elected to be the head of a government was Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, elected in 2009 as Prime Minister of Iceland.
- Icelandic names tend to follow a patronymic naming style, whereby the child takes the first name of the father as a last name, with the suffix sson or dottir. This leads to a family of four having, potentially, four different surnames. So if Magnus Thorsson marries Ingrid Bjorndottir, their children would be Gabriel Magnusson and Johanna Magnusdottir. Something along those lines, anyway. Because of this, and last names not meaning much, the phone book lists occupations as well, to help identify people.
- The country has a population of around 315 000, with around 230 000 in the Greater Reykjavik Area. Take a moment and think of how truly small that is.
- Iceland tends to use clean, geothermal energy, yet has one of the highest rates of cars per capita. It was explained by a tour guide that Icelanders don't use geothermal power cause it's environmentally friendly; they do this cause it's easier than any other form, for them.
I can't say exactly what it is, but this kind of barren, kind of crazy country captivated me. I could have spent years there, and even now I still debate running off to there and trying to make my way. I'll definitely need to go back at some point, but for now I've been saving my money. But every now and then I still read the Iceland Review, or the Reykjavik Grapevine, just to get a sense of what's going on there. Maybe I lived there in a past life or something, couldn't say for sure.
Either way, if I've piqued your interest, I'd suggest checking out a couple fun sites; Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend and Inspired by Iceland. The latter is one of the most beautiful and inspiring tourist campaigns I've ever seen, while the former is creative and kind of adorable.
Better yet, check out flights. They're probably cheaper than you think.