My Iceland 2011

I’m jumping on the current blogging bandwagon to look back at 2011 highlights and “lessons learnt.”

Believe it or not, I do have a life outside of my all-things-Icelandic obsession, but for the purposes of this blog, here are some Icelandic highlights of my year and what they taught me:

Spontaneity:

I had a relatively spontaneous trip to Iceland this year (as spontaneous as my job would allow me to be anyway) and although there was part of me that tried to plan every detail of it as I normally would, I also learned to adapt and change my plans when it turned out I couldn’t do some things when I wanted to, as I wasn’t going at the time that I wanted to.

Side note: I’ve come to the conclusion that I *need* to have a city break in Reykjavik every year. Not negotiable.

Patience:

I taught myself to knit, and am nearly finished a scarf in Icelandic lopi (wool). My whole knitting interest was at least partially inspired by Icelandic clothing. Some day I might even go on an Icelandic knitting holiday. (yes, there really is such a thing)

Perseverance:

I booked myself on a Northern Lights trip for the night I arrived. If you don’t see anything on these trips, you would usually be offered the chance to go again free on another night. That was my logic in doing it the minute I arrived anyway. In reality I wouldn’t recommend doing this – driving around on a bus in pitch black for 5-6 hours (seriously) is really tiring to do after you’ve already been travelling. I will do a trip report on this some day as it was quite surreal. Anyway, the short story is that we DID see some traces of Northern Lights. Nothing that would show up in a photo and probably not worth all the effort it took to see them, BUT I’m glad I suffered through this evening as it gave me an idea of how spectacular it would be to see them properly.

This is how Reykjavik looked a few days later

Photo from http://www.iceland.nordicvisitor.com

Open-mindedness:

I’m not normally a fan of Björk, but I gave Bibliophilia a chance and I really like it.  I also don’t usually like mysteries, but have discovered two great crime authors in Arnaldur Indriðason and Yrsa Sigurdardottir.

Surprise:

Nice surprise #1 – Sigur Rós has come out of the woodwork again – hooray.

Nice surprise #2 – Icelandair were so much better than when I last flew on them! Ok, so you have to pay for the food now but the entertainment system is BRILLIANT and I watched some short films that I never would have seen otherwise and heard some great music. Unfortunately all the other non-Icelanders seemed to be watching the rubbish American shows. Their loss.

Sad can be funny:

BBC 4 had an “Iceland” season earlier this year, where they showed several Icelandic-related programmes, including Næturvaktin (Night Shift). This show is about 3 social misfits who work in a petrol station and what happens in their little lives.  There are two further shows in this series, Dagvaktin (Day Shift) and Fangavaktin (Prison Shift), and a film, Bjarnfreðarson, which apparently outperformed Avatar in Iceland.  I found all of these hilarious. Although humorous, there is a strange feeling of sadness too. I’ll be posting more on all of these another time, but they are all good and if you like Iceland you’ll find them really interesting.

Dagvaktin trailer

Your friends aren’t always right:

I’ve always thought that it would be fun to get your hair cut somewhere different, by someone who has never cut your hair before and would have new ideas about what to do with it. Before going to Iceland, I shared this idea with some people and the overwhelming majority told me not to do it. They were convinced it would look terrible, why would you trust a stranger with your hair, full of horror stories about bad hair cuts, all doom and gloom. You get the idea.  I went and did it anyway, had loads of fun doing it, and got a great haircut out of it. GO ME.

Sharing:

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to discover the joys of blogging. I have really enjoyed reading everyone else’s blogs and learned lots of fun new things about Iceland this way. It’s also been nice to have a willing audience who lets me ramble on about Iceland. Thank you!

Poverty:

I know now what it feels like to have no money, having had to pay for this year’s and next year’s Iceland trips at the same time!

I’d love to hear about your 2011 Iceland experience!

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26 thoughts on “My Iceland 2011

  1. Great post! Good ideas for a post too! I might have to struggle thru that myself. :) It sounds like you had great trip and I hope you get to post some photos of the Northern Lights, they would be lovely to see!

    Have a beautiful day!

    • Yes, I think we often don’t stop enough to look back and realise how far we’ve come.
      Funnily enough we have been trying to watch stuff off that website recently and have found it quite stuttery unless we watch things on “small” format – which is still ok but I just can’t imagine our connection is that slow? Do you have problems with it? We wanted to watch it through the Playstation 3 but that didn’t work as it doesn’t have the latest version of Flash. Anyway, I do think it’s a great site but wish I could sort out the problems we seem to have with viewing. Maybe we just had a bad day, I’m going to try again this week.

  2. Hey Eva!
    I’ve a question, because we think about travelling to Iceland in summer ;)
    How much are basic things like food, sleeping etc.??
    Would be glad if you could answer ;)
    And I’ll post the other artist you suggested me soon!
    Have a great holiday!
    xandi

  3. I’m happy to read each of your word here. thanks for sharing. Some random question, does living cost in Reykjavik comparatively similar to any western european cities standard? Would you mind to name any city? Appreciate your word on this, thank you, great day to you

    • Like Vedis said! No, actually I would disagree here – Iceland is still very expensive for visitors. Maybe not so bad for me from the UK where prices aren’t HUGELY different, but certainly from the US or Eastern Europe it must seem very expensive. What I find difficult is that if I want to go out and buy clothes for example – the prices mean that I will buy 1 item rather than 3 or 4. Things are higher quality and better made though so at least you are paying a lot for really nice things rather than the cheap throwaway stuff you can get here.

  4. I can answer that one for you airsquadron, its cheap to live and be in Iceland if you are coming as a visitor with a paycheck from another country, but for icelanders.. A whole different story.. Our economic crisis has done so, that everything has go´ne up in prices. Sad but true, but Iceland is SO worth seeing ;-)

    Eva, thank you for that blog entry. You have such a good way of describing things.. Your blog makes me homesick sometimes, but in the good way ;-)

    I also LOVE Yrsa and Arnaldur, we share that same passion.
    And Its so cool that you “get” the sarcastic twisted dark Icelandic humor frm Næturvaktin :)

    Keep up the good blogging ;-)

    • Vedis, thank you for your nice words, they mean a lot coming from an Icelander. I sometimes think my views must seem very innocent and only focus on the good stuff. There is a dark undercurrent to a lot of the Icelandic things I like and I know you appreciate them too. If I run out of ideas of what to write about I will come to you for inspiration. : ) (I must find out how to do the proper smiley faces on here!)

      • You are always welcome to ask, if you need help, but dont think you will need it, you are doing good job by your own ;-)
        you have the newest Yrsa book!!.. Im so jelous.. ;-)
        I’ll read it next summer, when im back to Iceland.

  5. This blog is terrific. Iceland is special and it’s incredible to see someone who has such a passion for a place like that. It sounds like you are full of adventure. I look forward to reading more of these posts, thanks :)

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  8. This sounds fabulous. I’m pleased you got to see the Northern Lights. I’d love to see them properly. I used to live in a little cottage at the top of a hill in the Highlands and we often saw the Northern Lights. I know that I’ve been so lucky although I appreciate that in Iceland it’s a whole different experience. Go you for having your hair cut by someone else. This is a lovely post. You are one adventurous and positive lady!

    • How lovely for you, I’m surprised they don’t make more of that up there because a lot of us southerners wouldn’t know you could see them in the Highlands.

      I never think of myself as adventurous until I realise I am surrounded by people who would never do things I think are quite normal like going on holiday by yourself or getting a hair cut! But thank you. I intend to be this way until I’m really old, there’s nothing sadder than people who just give up on life.

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