Some of my favourite bits of my favourite brand of guidebook for my favourite 22-days-away holiday destination:
“Immense glaciers and wiggling fjords, unspoiled wilderness areas ripe for exploration, a clean and icy sea where humpback whales surface, roll and dive into the depths again — Iceland’s cinematic beauty is overwhelming. Stir in a fascinating Viking past, tiny fishing villages, geothermal pools and hot pots, and a hint of magic in the air, and you’ve hit the holiday jackpot.”
- Pet dogs were illegal in Reykjavik until 1988.
- Beer was illegal until 1989.
- “Until 1988 Iceland had only one state-run TV station — which went off air on Thursdays so that citizens could do something healthier instead. (It’s said that most children born before 1988 were conceived on a Thursday…)”
- “In fact, the town council at Hafnarfjordur contains three people who can mediate with elves during building projects.”
- “Eyeball a plate of old-fashioned Icelandic food and chances are it will eyeball you back. In the past nothing was wasted, and some traditional specialties look more like horror-film props than food.”
- “Selfoss is the largest town in Southern Iceland, an important trade and industry centre, and witlessly ugly.”
- “Q: What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest? A: Stand up.”
“The world’s most northerly capital [Reykjavik] combines colourful buildings, quirky people, a wild nightlife and a capricious soul to devastating effect. Most visitors fall helplessly in love, returning home already saving to come back.”