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This odd country at the Arctic Circle

April 19, 2016

You must have heard of many oddities already; about how Icelanders believe in elves and trolls, how a comedian became a mayor of Reykjavik, how mothers leave their baby buggies outside when they go to get a coffee and how the people of Iceland are proud of their volcano, that managed to break down the European air traffic.

Icelandic culture and statues

The latter shows how Icelanders seem to enjoy a bit more than others to be able to tease other countries – maybe to compensate for the smallness of the population and maybe because Iceland has just been voted as the most peaceful country in the world. Because who wants to be only a harmless (but incredibly beautiful) island somewhere in the North Atlantic?
The British seem to suffer mostly from this. Not only were they heavily affected by the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull (yeah, start practicing to pronounce that) eruption, but Iceland also denied to pay back its debts to Britain after the financial crisis and it even went to war with them in the 70's. Okay, it was a small war, and it was about fish, but still... Don‘t mess with Iceland! ...
Or don‘t read what the news say about it, because once you are here, you will find more peculiarities you will love. You will for example never have to worry to slip on an icy sidewalk in downtown Reykjavik, because those are heated, just like intersections. You might think Icelanders were born with spikes under their feet in the land of fire and ice, but you will do just fine moving around as well.
So after walking safely to the beach, just go for a swim, it is heated as well! And you want to have a good look at the Northern lights afterwards? If the forecast is good, the city council (remember, the comedian?) might just shut down some city lights so you can see it better. You think that‘s crazy? Come here and think again!

Author: Thilo Kirsch, intern at Extreme Iceland.