Things Icelandic People Like

Saying "No, Thanks!" to European Union Membership.  Within an hour of arriving in Iceland, we spotted a billboard that said "ESB - NEI TAKK!"  Our quick airplane study session had taught us that "nei takk" means "no, thank you" and the European Union flag keyed us into the meaning of "ESB."  We saw hay bails wrapped in branded plastic with the same message throughout the countryside.  Even though membership talks successfully began between Iceland and the EU in 2010, 56% of Icelanders polled this February were against them moving forward.  The main causes for concern have to do with agriculture and fisheries.  Basically, the enormous subsidies currently provided to sheep farmers would be cut drastically, the import tax currently on imported meat and produce would be lifted and the local farmers would get competition that they simply couldn't win. As for the fisheries, once EU member states get access to Icelandic waters, there's no telling what would happen.  Both of these things would, undoubtedly, affect the island's environment (on top of its ability to be self-sufficient, a vital skill for an island nation).
Coca-Cola Products.  Icelanders consume more Coca-Cola product per capita than any country in the world.  It's true.  The upside to such a depressing statistic is that they are the only European country to sell my very favorite soda, Fresca, a product of the Coca-Cola Company.  Aside from Iceland, it is distributed only to North and South America.  So, thank you, Iceland.  (Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light, Sprite and Sprite Zero were the other products regularly on hand).
When buying a soda like a true Icelander, one needn't have any available cash.  Because, another thing that Icelandic people like is...
Using a Credit Card for Everything.  Absolutely everything.  Even the vending machines have card swipers.
Cairns.  Some marked trails, some stood lonely and tall in the middle of fields - ancient leftovers from a trail long since disappeared.  At Skálabrekka, on the drive toward Þingvellir National Park, we saw dozens of tourists buildings cairns in a field just chock full of them.  A different sort of marking, just saying that they were there.  This cairn was spotted on the way up the Strandir Coast of the Westfjords.
Saga Museums.  The Sagas of Icelanders are the best known and most loved pieces in Icelandic literature.  Written in the 13th and 14th century by unknown authors, they tell the stories of the 10th and 11th, when the descendents of the original settlers began to navigate their way through life in this new world.  This involved lots of murder, as far as I can tell, as almost every saga details one killing after another.  Of course, this makes for great entertainment.  So, museums telling the stories have popped up around Iceland.  Most are in the location of the actual saga.  Let's just say, we saw a lot of violence reenacted by wooden statues and grotesque dummies.  Above, at the Saga Museum in Borgarnes, a tavern full of men listen to the very first poem recited by young Egil of Egil's Saga.  Spoiler alert: Egil grew up to become quite the murderer.
Self-Service Soup Stations.  In tourist information centers, gas stations, bakeries, museum gift shops and restaurants, there was always a big cauldron of soup sitting in the corner.  The soup of the day was always self-serve, inexpensive and offered up with slices of complimentary bread.  Cauliflower soup popped up twice, but usually mushroom soup and kjötsúpa, Icelandic lamb soup, were the ones on hand. 
Usually, a self-serve water station was also stationed somewhere in any room.  Icelandic tap water is excellent and having big pitchers on counters and bars across the country was excellent.  No waiting to ask your waiter for a refill, here!
Sod Roofs.  This architectural feature dates all the way back to the Vikings.  Covering log cabins with birch bark was the roofing method of choices throughout Icelandic history - and since birch bark so easily curls or blows away, the pieces were weighed down with think pieces of sod.  The process was labor intensive, but basically free, so it continued on in rural areas for centuries.  Recently, people have begun using sod roofs again.  The birch is waterproof, the sod is a great insulator and the weight of it all compresses the logs beneath to make the walls more draught-proof.  The sod roof above seems to be mostly chosen for look.
You have read this article Architecture / Countryside / Drinking / Food / Iceland / Things Europeans Like with the title Things Icelandic People Like. You can bookmark this page URL http://africathoughts.blogspot.com/2012/09/things-icelandic-people-like.html. Thanks!

No comment for "Things Icelandic People Like"

Post a Comment