Living here, I would find it hard not to believe in magic of some form or another. Famously, more than 50% of Icelanders said they believed in elves circa 1998. My guess is that the continued mysticism of the locals is based in part on the extreme weather. This tiny island in the north Atlantic is completely at the mercy of intense winds, storm cycles, and volcanic eruptions.
Magic stems from an attempt to explain something that would otherwise be incomprehensible. These weather conditions are a kind of modern magic – one of the last things we humans haven’t been able to fully predict or control. It makes sense to me that the people here might be more willing to embrace the idea of an unknowable reality. .
My travel buddy and I enjoyed an awesome tour of Reykjavik yesterday. It’s quite a small city by U.S. standards, and I get the sense it would be easily possible to walk it all in a day – though I can’t pretend we’ve done that yet! We ate the national treasure. We passed out as soon as socially acceptable (after flying in at 5:30am and spending a full day on our feet, we weren’t making it past 8pm).
Today we went on a horseback ride through the mountains. While it was a cool experience, I’d skip it if you’re not super into horses or you’re pressed for time while visiting. (I’m thinking of sample Reykjavik itinerary post later). Icelandic horses may well be my second favorite mode of transportation this trip, but my #1 favorite way to get around will always be running (so I’m looking forward to Friday’s tour).
Oh, and the shower afterward was incredible, even in our wee, simple hotel room. Guess it makes sense that a country famous its waterfalls and abundant geothermal power would also have piping hot showers with great water pressure.
Related: The Blue Fox by Sjón (Reykjavik)