I originally decided to visit Iceland because I had never previously met anyone from that part of the world. I yearned to know what they looked like, what their English accent sounded like, and get a feel of the personality and culture behind the Icelandic.
Jess (my travel friend from France) and I hit the streets of Reykjavik – Iceland’s largest city and were amused by how humorous this culture actually is. The signage throughout the city kept us entertained for a good few hours, and I thought I would share some of the funniest ones we came across.
Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital and largest city, and one of the smallest capital cities in the world.
Usually, I am not a big fan of spending time in a country’s cities, especially not those where countless adventure activities beckon in surreal and untouched landscapes. Reykjavik city, however, was a little bit different and comes in second to New York on my list of favorite cities in the world. It is probably the peaceful stress-free city life of the Icelandics that first drew me in, coupled with its myriad of marvels for just about everyone who visits. It is a city rich in historical sites, humorous signposts that adorn shopkeepers’ windows, a city where artists from all art forms flock together, and a city that is home to an abundance of untouched natural landscapes.
I have put together this photoblog of some of the things myself and Jess saw on our day on foot in Reykjavik. I never imagined that graffiti could bring a city so alive, and be done so elegantly.
Have you visited a place here that I have forgotten about?
The word Thingvelier (spelled Þingvellir in Icelandic) was derived from the Icelandic words – “Ping” meaning parliament and “velar” meaning plans. It was originally the base of Europe’s first Parliament. Referred to as Alpingi, this institution was a place where ideas were discussed, disputes were settled, and where criminals were convicted.
Disturbingly, women found guilty of adultery or infanticide were drowned in the Drekkingarhylur pool. During the 17th century, nine men were burnt at the stake in Brennugja after being found guilty of witchcraft.
Dramatic fissures in the ground show a continental drift between North America and Europe that occurs at an unbelievable rate of 1mm to 18mm each year. Iceland is the only inhabited island in the world where tectonic plate movements are visible, which makes Iceland a truly incredible country to explore.
Aside from its historical interest, Thingvellir holds a special place for nature lovers especially in the summertime when you can do some incredible hikes across the 9,270ha plain. Use your best judgment when encountering the many spectacular fissures as the rocks over the edge can be very unstable.
Over 10 000 years the valley’s appearance has been shaped by the sinking of the Earth’s crust. Canyons have formed, and in one part you can experience Silfra – a naturally formed lake that is popular with divers. Filled with glacier water, the lake is considered one of the clearest bodies of water on earth with a 100-meter clear visibility underwater.
Thingvelir National Park is a mere 30-minute drive from Reykjavik and falls as part of the famous Golden Circle. You can either rent a car and do a self-drive – or book one of these amazing guided tours.
You might be saving a little on the self-drive, but you will be missing out on the wealth of knowledge available from true locals.