You would expect Iceland to be a small and easily accessible country. That is before you realize that in Iceland everybody in the phonebook is listed by their first name – and that the language is close to old Norse.
Work invited for a different team building activity in Iceland. It meant a welcome break from my work at a Stockholm newspaper. After a week of lessons and training in Oslo, the Schibsted trainees took off for Reykjavik, Iceland.
HvaÃ° er aÃ° frÃ©tta?
In addition to listing the phonebook by first name, Icelanders have another quirk. They invent new words for all new words that enter their language. For example is software known as hugbÃºnaÃ°ur and a television set as sjÃ³nvarpstÃ¦ki. Less than 300.000 people live in Iceland â€“ and it isnâ€™t exactly a widespread language in other parts of the world either. And yet they take so good care of their language. I suddenly feel like we Norwegians are giving away our language and culture to the Americans…
But this freezing lava island close to the North Pole, is not so inhospitable as you might think. In fact, it isnâ€™t all that far north either. Iceland is a rich, fashion conscious place in the middle between Norway and Canada. The volcanic activity means that hot water is not in short supply, although it might smell a bit sulphuric in the shower. The volcanic activities also are the reason for the geysers. Incredible hot bursts of water that shoots out of the ground. Iâ€™d heard about these, but they were fascinating to see.
As good Norwegian (and Swedish) Vikings we came, we drank their mjÃ¸d (beer), rode their (incredibly tame) Icelandic horses and had a dip in the famous Blue Lagoon. It really is blue, it really is hot, and it really is all natural.
Thanks to Charlotte for the pictures.