Hi everybody. Just wanted to thank you for following. I originally started this as an experiment, a year and a half ago, to see if I could get listed on the first page of Google for the search term Iceland Pictures. That happened a long time ago. Now I maintain it due to the strong feedback I get from you. There are now over 2000 followers on tumblr and 1000 on Facebook (I’m having a celebratory piece of fermented shark for breakfast). Did you know Iceland pictures is on Facebook? Check it out, the fb page is finding a life of its own and there’s plenty of content that only goes there: Iceland Pictures’ Facebook.
Since I’ve been working as a guide in Iceland for several years and at the moment I’m stuck in Sweden, I love guiding you via the internet. I especially love answering your questions about Iceland, so use the ask feature and keep the questions coming. In any case, as long as you keep reading, liking or rebloging my posts, I’ll try and keep a good flow of quality posts coming.
A tilberi is the freakiest creature in Icelandic folklore witchcraft. It is a small parasite made from a human rib and is designed to steal milk from your neighbors sheep and cows. It is perhaps a freakier idea than Icelandic necropants.
Hey there. I'll stay a year at iceland and I really don't know what to bring as a present. I'm 18 when I go there and so there's no possibility to take a bottle of "Jägermeister" (liquor), which is produced in my hometown, with me. Would you recommend me something else to take with me?
Jägermeister is popular in Iceland and would definitely be an appropriate gift seeing as its from your hometown. However the drinking age in Iceland is 20. This is usually not respected by 18 year olds, but it is the law.
When I was an exchange student in Brazil, I had with me a few picture books of Iceland, a flag, Icelandic candy, dried fish and some Icelandic music. Your local food or candy could be a good bet. Just keep in mind that you are not allowed to bring any uncooked meat to Iceland.
If you have a local football or handball club, then you could bring a team jersey to your hosts. Icelandic sports fans sometimes follow the German leagues, especially the teams that have Icelanders playing.
Good luck and góða ferð!
lovecigarettesandliberty said: Really sad,this would have been the perfect present.Would you say German sweets like Kinderschokolade/Haribo would be good?I think they’re pretty well known in some other countries.I’ll work at a ranch/hotel and stay there.Maybe it’s s.th different?
IcelandPictures: Kinder eggs are well known in Iceland and Haribo is also sold in Iceland. Although the World may not agree on this, we are convinced that Icelandic candy and particularly Icelandic chocolate is the best in the World. You could still bring some.
Even though the drinking age is 20, as a foreigner you would probably never be stopped in the customs gate with your bottle of Jägermeister in your baggage. Unless you have dreadlocks and a Bob Marley shirt. In any case at worst you’d say you didn’t know better and lose the bottle.
lovecigarettesandliberty said: So would a German sausage be better? And because of the Jägermeister I’m scared about a tax whitch I maybe have to pay at the airport. But on the other side it’s pretty unlikely that they will control me. Well thank you so much for your help. :)
IcelandPictures: A good German sausage is a great idea. You’ll have no problems with the tax. You are allowed to bring some alcohol (if you are over 20) and some tobacco (if you are over 18) without paying any tax.
Alcohol (one of the following options)
3 liters wine and 6 liters beer
1 liter of strong alcohol and 9 liters of beer
1,5 liters of wine and 9 liters of beer
12 liters of beer
Tobacco (one of the following options)
250 gr. of tobacco.
lovecigarettesandliberty said: there’s the problem. i’m not over 20. i’ll be 18 for just a month when i go abroad :/ oh man reaaaaaallly hard decision. Do you know about the tax on meat/sausages?
"Aldrei fór ég suður" Iceland music festival live stream
In a deep fjord in the mountainous Vestfjords in the northwest corner of Iceland lies a small town, Ísafjörður. This small town, with a population of 2,600 is actually one of Iceland’s largest towns. Since their main problem is young people moving “south” to Reykjavík, the name of their annual music festival is “Aldrei fór ég suður" or "Never I went south".
Sorry I didn’t let you know about it in time for the first night (it’s on replay right now). But be sure not to miss the second night, streamed live by Inspired by Iceland. The program, avalaible here, will be from 16:00-01:00 GMT/UTC (12AM New York, 5PM London, 9AM San Francisco, 6PM Amsterdam).
Askja is a unique volcanic crater in the northeastern part of Iceland. Since Askja is a very active volcano, it has caused great attention that the ice has melted off of the lake in the middle. This is quite unusual for this time of year and is not in line with other nearby lakes.
Askja has had several known eruptions, the last one was in 1961. This eruption was reasonably small and caused no trouble. However, in 1875 there was a major eruption which made the crater well known. The tephra and ash from this eruption caused widespread death of livestock and resulted in a famine across northern Iceland and Scandinavia. These events also sparked Iceland’s greatest emigration to North America.
Today there is a very large lake which fills nearly half the crater. This was until a couple of years ago Iceland’s deepest lake at 220 meters (Jökulsárlón is now deeper). There is also a small lake which you can’t see on these pictures. It is situated in another small crater inside the Askja crater. Its name is Víti (E. Hell) and it never freezes (ever heard of Hell freezing over?). This lake is in parts boiling, while other places are perfect for a hot bath, making it one of the most popular places to visit in the Icelandic highlands.
Whether the fact that the ice has melted is an indicator of an upcoming eruption, nobody knows. It is however known that there was an increase in temperature before the 1961 eruption. So scientists are following the volcano closely, analyzing seismic graphs and yesterday they flew over the lake with thermal imaging cameras to try and identify new heat sources.
Askja is clear of ice in its snowy landscape. The picture below is a satellite image of the northeastern corner of Iceland. Askja is the black dot in the middle of picture. Nearby lakes, Mývatn and Hagalón are still frozen. Here’s Nasa’s high resolution version.
I am visiting Iceland this summer & am very excited! However, the more research I do the more apparent it becomes that icelanders aren't very in touch with veganism. Will it be difficult to be vegan or vegetarian there?
Traditional Icelandic food is definitely meat oriented. However, I’m sure anybody can find something to their liking. All restaurants will have vegetarian options, although smaller ones might not have much diversity. In Reykjavík there are a couple of vegetarian restaurants. I used to frequent Salatbarinn when I worked nearby. Also check this restaurant guide that grundstuck recommended here below.
You can get great fresh fruits and vegetables in Iceland. They are generally organically grown in geothermally heated greenhouses.
Out in the country there are fewer restaurants overall and many more of them are of the hot-dog and hamburger standard. There you might have some trouble finding good options, but they’ll typically have some lousy vegetarian option.
If you eat fish, then you’ll have lots of great options and if you eat dairy, then you must try skyr.
I was hoping to get your opinion on a hike this summer. I will be going solo, and while I considered hiking Laugavegur, I prefer as much solitude as possible when backpacking - though the scenery from that trail is mighty tempting to do it anyway! It would be 5 days or so hiking, and am considering going backcountry from Eldgja to Vik. I am comfortable with navigating off trail. Opinions on this hike? Suggestions for other starting/end points? Can't wait to visit your beautiful country!
The Laugavegur hike is a great hike. It is typically taken in 3-5 days and is the only long hike in Iceland that has a reasonably well marked trail. The landscape is also extremely diverse and both the start in Landamannalaugar as well as the end in Þórsmörk have plenty of interesting day hikes. So yes it is true that Laugavegurinn is very popular and not the ideal place for solitude. There are roughly 10.000 people that do this hike every year and from my experience if you hike it in the same direction as most do, from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk, then you’ll end up meeting maybe 10 people per day while hiking and there might be 50 people staying at each campsite/cabin. If you go the other way around, you’ll meet many more as you go against the main traffic.
The Eldgjá area is very interesting and the hike from Eldgjá to Vík is great. However, there are some formidable glacier rivers on this route. These rivers are very often impossible to cross on foot and always impossible if you are solo. Therefor it is necessary to go up onto the glacier to get above the river sources. I do not recommend anybody to go onto the glacier without a guide or very good knowledge of glacier travel. If you want to do it with a guide though, then you can do the tour with my former employer Icelandic Mountain Guides.
One trek I might suggest is a trek around the Kerlingarfjöll mountains in the middle of Iceland. These very geologically active volcanic mountains are reasonably accessible, but receive little traffic. There are several marked trails for day hikes, but an interesting option a friend of mine did recently was to hike around the whole mountains. There are plenty of smaller rivers along this path, but none very large.
But the most important is to be very careful. Unfortunately I have taken part in many search and rescue missions in Iceland regarding missing hikers. That’s why I’m a bit reluctant to recommend solo hikes. Your odds are a lot more favorable with a friend. Be sure to leave your travel plan with somebody you trust and also with the Icelandic Search and Rescue. Read their tips on safe travel in Iceland and leave a travel plan free of charge. It is easy to get lost in Iceland and the main dangers are hypothermia following strong winds and rain as well as river crossings. There’s no such thing as waterproof clothing in Iceland.
Free Willy on the run in Iceland and the Presidential Residence for sale
In yesterday’s post on Iceland in 8 bits on April Fools, I promised to post Iceland’s main April Fools jokes. April Fools in Iceland is generally all about getting people to “hlaupa apríl” or “run an April”. This means it’s not enough to trick people, but you have to trick them into going someplace for no reason. Usually the main news sources on radio, tv, the web and in newspapers work together to trick the whole nation.
The two most successful previous Fools Days I can remember are “Keiko (Free Willy) swimming in the river by Selfoss” and “Kópavogskirkja church sued by McDonalds”. As you may know, Keiko, the killer whale from Free Willy was originally caught in Icelandic waters. Naturally he was therefor released in Iceland with enormous costs and media fanfare. He spent his adaptation months in the Vestmannaeyjar Islands. However the Fools day lie was that he had escaped and swum up the Ölfusá River and was now posing for cameras in a Sea World style show by the town of Selfoss. Despite the incredible story, a lot of people fell for it and drove to Selfoss to see the spectacle.
The other good one was when McDonalds purportedly sued the Kópavogskirkja church for trademark violations. The arches that define the church were said to have been considered too similar to the McDonald’s M. Due to the long period this trademark violation had been going on (built in 1958) and the high legal costs, the church had been overtaken by McDonald’s and was being painted yellow and remodeled as a hamburger stand.
This year there were no great lies. The only two medias that cooperated from what I see are the Vísir newssite and Reykjavík City’s website. They reported that a seal had been stolen from Húsdýragarðurinn (Reykjavík Petting Zoo) and had been released into Tjörnin, the pond in downtown Reykjavík. There it was quite aggressive and eluding capture. Reykjavík’s mayor, the comedian Jón Gnarr, was apparently quite happy with his new neighbor and convinced that the seal could become a great tourist attraction.
The newspaper Morgunblaðið had a real estate ad for Bessastaðir, the presidential residence. This fit quite well into the current debate over who will be the presidential candidates in this years election. Morgunblaðið also had a vote for who would be on the 10.000 ISK note that the Central Bank recently announced would be put into production. However the vote was rigged, so no matter who you chose, it always thanked you for voting for Davíð Oddsson. Davíð is Iceland’s former prime minister and head of the Central Bank and currently is the very debated editor in chief of Morgunblaðið.
The website, Svipan, posted that packets of cocain had been found here and there along Reykjavík’s coastline and that the police was asking people to help find all the drugs.
For all of you asking about immigrating to Iceland, here’s a good read. Karen saw an opportunity in Iceland’s need for programmers and is in the process of moving to Iceland. Lots of bureaucratic hindrances on the way, but they simply make her more determined.
Having to return to the US for 2 months due to some bureaucratic nonsense, she feels like a foreigner in her own country.
Regarding your second question, then yes there are people of pretty much all colors in Iceland. However, this is a recent change. To give you an idea, I can tell the story of my cousin who is now in his mid 30s. When he was 6, he saw a black man for the first time while on a trip to Denmark. He was so surprised by this that he began crying.
I’m pretty sure all Icelandic 6 year olds today have seen a black man.
Edit:It worked! The news of the lost camera wound up on most big Icelandic news websites (vísir, dv). Eventually somebody posted it on Reddit. As usually happens on Reddit, several hundred people had something to say on the matter and thereof was one of the couple’s friends. It’s a small world after all.
A girl found a Canon Powershot SD 1000 camera in a black Case Logic case at the domestic airport in Reykjavík last Thursday (3.22.2012). Since Iceland is tiny and word spreads fast, there’s a good chance these two can be reunited with their holiday pictures.
There really is hope. I once found a camera in a crevasse on the Sólheimajökull glacier. The camera didn’t work, but I was able to recover the pictures. Fortunately there was a picture of me in the camera allowing me to track down what day the people had been with me on the glacier and eventually find a phone number. Unfortunately I still haven’t found my own camera which is somewhere inside the Sólheimajökull glacier…
So if you know any of these people, tell them that Ponsa Waage has their camera.
The polar bears are outside a giftshop in downtown Reykjavík, but is that a New York skyline?
what are Iceland's religious demographics, how do Icelanders feel about religion?
Iceland is not as religious as statistics might indicate. 96,8% of Icelanders are registered in in a religion. However most of them 79,1% are members of the Icelandic National Church (Lutheran). Although I don’t have any stats for that, I can tell you that the vast majority of these are not active participants in the church. Like myself, most Icelanders were born into the church and it actually takes a slight effort to unregister.
If you are thinking about how Icelanders think about other religions, then I’d say we are quite acceptive to different religions. That said, I think we have some prejudice towards those who take religion very seriously. And not only the real extremists.
Icelanders. The most luckiest people on the world.
At least according to some statistics Icelanders are the happiest people in the world. But then statistics get a bit odd in the case of tiny countries. Iceland for example has the most Nobel Prize winners per capita in the world. Still we only have one, Halldór Laxness.
Björk has done more on TV than talk about her TV. In 1997 she did interviews with minimalist musicians, including Arvo Pärt, Alasdair Malloy and Mika Vainio.
When Björk says “I think sometimes the role of a person who makes music is to take these everyday noises that are ugly and make them beautiful. And by this they are doing magic.” it reminds me of Björk’s own industrial noise music in Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark.
I will be on my way to Iceland this summer, and I couldn't be more excited!! I haven't figured out how long to stay or where to stay or what all to see. What would do you all suggest? what are the must see's? and the you really should see if you have time? I hope to take some more time to look through your blog more throughly as well, but all advice is greatly appreciated!! I can't wait to see the gorgeous pictures in real life! =] - Lisa
Glad you are coming to Iceland. Your question is a bit hard to answer without a bit more background info.
The rest depends a lot on how long you are staying, whether you’ll be based in Reykjavík or travelling around the country, what you’re budget is and whether you want to go hiking or do more serious nature exploration.
Here’s an interesting blog you might want to check out. At 51, Vicki decided she needed a change in her life and moved from Australia to Iceland and bought an old post office in Sauðarkrókur (E. Sheep’s Hook) in northern Iceland.
Hello, I live in relatively warm part of the United States. I've never needed a heavy winter coat, even in the middle of winter. But i'm wanting to purchase a heavy winter coat, one that i could use if i decided to visit some of the colder places of the world, like Iceland for example. So what companies are the best manufacturers of heavy winter coast? What are the most popular coats among icelanders? I'm looking for something water repellent, with a hood....thanks. oh by the way, You have a very nice tumblr...i'm now a follower!
Hmmm that’s a tough one.
For heavy winter coats anything works pretty much. It’s only if it needs to be light weight that quality really matters.
However if you want to hike or do anything other than stand pretty much still you would want a lightweight water and windproof jacket that is somewhat breathable. The jacket by itself would not provide any warmth, only shelter from the elements. To insulate yourself you would then wear a sweater made of wool or fleece and under that a synthetic or wool first layer. A nice thin down or primaloft jacket or vest would be a good addition to go under the waterproof jacket when it’s really cold or you are less mobile.
I saw your post about Iceland universities.
I live in the United States as well and I have a question.
I read somewhere that in order to visit Iceland, you have to have some sort of tourist visa. If you want to live there, you have to have a worker's visa. What about if you go to school there? Do you still have to apply for some kind of visa?