And I love that I have found a bridge between my earlier trip to Morocco this spring where I learned what "shoofing" meant and the trip starting tomorrow to the land of Fire and Ice!
Ironic that the PBS Newshour tonight aired a segment on how many Icelanders have mixed feelings about the country being such a "hot" tourist destination now. With too few hotel rooms available to accommodate their 4 year running 25-30% growth in tourists landing, many locals are being run out of the rental market because home owners/landlords can make more money renting their housing to tourists thru Air BNB. Not too dissimilar to what is happening in San Francisco where the housing market has out priced locals and only the dot.commers can afford anything to rent or buy there!
Anyway, I'm expecting it to be more touristy than our last visit. But hopefully not too much so! What is so appealing about the place is it's natural beauty and remoteness and the lack of people in sight! Every direction you look in is just nature....at least that is what I experienced 4 years ago when my sisters and I first visited this lovely country.
Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple of book recommendations if any of you are planning a trip to Iceland.
Where the Shadows Lie - Ridpath is the author. I thought this was a light and fun mystery that gave me some insight to the people and landscape to expect. I read this before our last visit to Iceland.
Iceland's Bell - Nobel Prize for Literature awarded author Halidor Laxness. I got great insight into the mindset and heritage of the people thru this book, but it was not an easy, light read like Where the Shadows Lie.
I Remember You - author Yrsa Sigurdardottir. I just started this earlier in the week and am enjoying another mystery set in Iceland.
A Traveller's Guide to Icelandic Folk Tales - author Jon Hjalmarsson. A compendium of short sweet tales about different places around the country. I read them before this trip, but we're taking the book with us to reread the ones that feature the places we're staying!
And of course there is always Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth and a whole plethora of Icelandic "sagas" - most by unknown authors and recorded in the 1100 - 1300s based on the word of mouth passed down from ancestors in 900 - 1100. Lots of gory death and fighting, but interesting insight to their way of life back then!
Fun Fact #1 - The PBS Newshour shared this one tonight during their segment on the mixed feeling the local have about the increased tourism to their country:
The population in Iceland is so small (around 300,000) that there is a phone app to be sure you aren't dating a cousin!
Fun Fact #2 - the way Icelanders are named is quite unusual. There is a list of acceptable first names (one has to petition a government board if you want to use something outside of this list!) and the sons and daughters of a man take his name and add either "son" or "dottir" to it for their last name. For example, I'm going to meet with Anna Gunnarsdottir (a felter in Akureyri) while I'm there. If she has a brother, his last name would be Gunnarsson!
The Wall Street Journal did a nice job of explaining it all here -