Iceland Visit, 2012, Part 2 of 3

As mentioned in my last blog, I loved the weather and food in Iceland.  This blog will cover my thoughts on the Icelanders themselves, and the land.  The animals and my horse experience will be in part 3.

People:

The Icelandic people we met were all very pleasant and friendly.  They answered questions and provided assistance quite readily.  I did notice that the Icelandic women, regardless of body shape or age, all appeared to be very proud of their bodies.  The style of dress for females usually included classy body hugging tops and/or tunics and leggings, tights, or very snug pants.  I don’t remember seeing any Icelandic women who were wearing anything loose.  There were many stores that specialized in leggings, so it’s definitely clothing of choice.  I just found this interesting since it’s so different from my home town where clothing styles and classiness can be so varied from women to women.

We learned that men and women’s last names reflect their father’s names in the following way:  Men are named First Name then Dad’s Name & Son, so for example, you might see a name like Jonathon Eriksson, which means Jonathon’s dad’s name was Erik, and he’s his son.  Women are named First Name then Dad’s Name & Daughter, so for example, you might see Adela Eriksdóttir which of course would mean Adela’s dad’s name is Erik and she’s his daughter.  When a woman marries, she does not take her husband’s name because her father’s name hasn’t changed – her last name will never change.  Further, phone books are all published by first names, not last names so it’s easier to find people since whenever people are introduced, including teachers, the Icelandic president, etc., they are always referred to by their first names.  Also, the last names of their children will be different than THEIR last names (as you can tell, I thought this was very interesting!)

Land:

lakeIceland is a country full of natural beauty.  One day, we took an all-day tour which only covered a small portion of the country, but enabled us to experience geysers, volcanic craters, hot springs, mountains, volcanoes, and glaciers.  While some of these we only saw from a distance, the land is definitely gorgeous in a majestic and rugged way.  In certain areas, there were tons of purple flowers dotting the land.  They are Alaskan Lupine which were brought to Iceland to help combat erosion.  The newer lava lands, which haven’t had new lava covering for thousands of years, are covered with a grey moss, which apparently turns green when it rains.

alaskan lupineVolcanoes were never far from our view.   There was always a snow covered volcano in the distance, and the Icelanders indicate two of the volcanoes are overdue for an eruption, so it’s only a matter of time, a detail they take as a matter of fact.  Some of the crew members on our ship rode snowmobiles up a glacier, and flew in a helicopter into volcanoes and over land and ocean.  Another popular way to explore in Iceland is via 4 wheel mega-trucks, which are driven by a guide.  Because of the huge amount of volcanic activity in Iceland, guides are required whenever you are exploring off the beaten path.  Finally, we also were able to see several of the geothermal power facilities.  Steam rises from the hot magma under the ground, and it’s turned into energy which is used to heat and power Icelandic homes.  Because heat and electricity are so plentiful, they are inexpensive for Icelanders.

To summarize the country, it’s beautiful in a rugged way.  You won’t see much in terms of greenery or trees or forests, but you will see snow covered volcanos, geysers that spout as you walk by (at a safe distance of course), bubbling hot springs, cold glaciers, and rushing waterfalls to name a few of Iceland’s benefits.  Pair all that with warm people, and you can’t go wrong with a visit to Iceland.

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