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Thread: Something You REALLY Should Know About Iceland

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    Something You REALLY Should Know About Iceland

    I get so so so so tired of all these "super exciting facts" about Iceland where it says that we eat fermented shark and believe in elves.

    1) A really interesting and imho important fact, that is unfortunately not spread through the world, is that almost every piece of land in Iceland is privately owned. Only the national parks and the road system is public land, everything else, even the often visited sightseeing spots such as Skógarfoss and Seljalandsfoss, are on private property. Even the famous glacier lagoon was privately owned until 2017, until the three landowners decided to offer it for sale to the government, because the costs of maintenance became too much of a burden (insurance for accidents on the property, winter service, building parking lots, toilets, maintenance of these things, etc).
    So if you visit Iceland, always keep in mind that you are almost ALWAYS in the (very big) "garden" of someone. Treat it that way!

    2) Wild camping is ILLEGAL in Iceland, except you are in the highlands or have the permission of the landowner. It was legal until November 2015 but too many people behaved badly, so now you have to be on a camp ground. Keep in mind that also the land left and right from the roads, parking lots, etc. are private property and thus it is forbidden to camp there. You might think "I'm not damaging anything" or "it's just me and I will leave early in the morning", but try to treat the country, its inhabitants, and their property with respect and stick to the laws. Because how would you feel if you would wake up every day with a campervan in your garden?

    3) DO NOT pet and/or feed animals except the owner has given you the permission. Animal owners HATE it when people do it. Again, you might think you'll be the only one doing that and that's not a bad thing and eg the horse came to the fence anyway, but just think about it that way:
    - Would you enjoy 50 people a day pet your dog/cat without your permission and your knowledge?
    - Horses and sheep in Iceland are not vaccinated since there are no infectious diseases in this country. Touching them when you have animals at home or touched animals in other counties of Iceland might be dangerous for the animals.

    4) Offroad driving is illegal in Iceland. You might find it very tempting driving through black sand with your Dacia Duster (first time you're sitting in a 4wd), but it is illegal and destroys the fragile nature of Iceland! Summer is very short here, it can still snow in May and and snow again in September, so the time of growths is very short. Same goes for leaving marked trails on foot. Just do not do that.

    Thank you for keeping that in mind when travelling through Iceland. Also, please refrain from calling Reykjavík "Reykja-witch" which is utter nonsense.
    Lík börn leika best.

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    From what I understand, Iceland is full of tourists? I remember taking a class in Icelandic once, and even the liberal professor seemed tired of the amount of tourists you saw everywhere. He even hinted the students about places to go where there wouldn't be that many tourists.

    No offense, but I don't have any interest in learning Icelandic anymore (I never did in the first place, only took the class to meet chicks ) and I don't think I will ever visit because I hate going to places with a lot of tourists.

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    You have the correct audience, of course the average Skadi reader is a typical ignorant tourist. I will always call it rake-ya-witch now.

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    Interesting information, thank you for sharing. I see your profile reads German. Were you born in Iceland or did you move there? If you don't mind me asking, what is - in your opinion - Iceland's attitude towards migrants from other Germanic countries as opposed to migrants of non-Germanic, and particularly non-European background? Do Icelanders see themselves as part of a larger, all-Germanic "meta-ethnicity"? Are certain types of migrants preferred to others?

    Iceland seems to be in a rather precarious position due to its smaller population - as opposed to other Germanic countries. I've recently seen a documentary about Asian immigration to the Faroe Islands and I have to say I found it somewhat worrying, since the Faroes are also quite small.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gegenschlag View Post
    From what I understand, Iceland is full of tourists? I remember taking a class in Icelandic once, and even the liberal professor seemed tired of the amount of tourists you saw everywhere. He even hinted the students about places to go where there wouldn't be that many tourists.

    No offense, but I don't have any interest in learning Icelandic anymore (I never did in the first place, only took the class to meet chicks ) and I don't think I will ever visit because I hate going to places with a lot of tourists.
    It is FULL of tourists, but luckily the number is expected to go down. More than 2 million in 2018 and it has become a crowded Disneyland full of disrespectful people. Some tourists (Afghans with US residency) caught a lamb in a field and slaughtered it for barbecue because they thought "it was wild" (as if that would matter; but besides birds, arctic foxes and minks there are no wild animals in Iceland), nature gets trampled on, trash everywhere, and you really have a hard time finding an Icelander in Reykjavik. It makes you puke, honestly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Idis View Post
    Interesting information, thank you for sharing. I see your profile reads German. Were you born in Iceland or did you move there? If you don't mind me asking, what is - in your opinion - Iceland's attitude towards migrants from other Germanic countries as opposed to migrants of non-Germanic, and particularly non-European background? Do Icelanders see themselves as part of a larger, all-Germanic "meta-ethnicity"? Are certain types of migrants preferred to others?

    Iceland seems to be in a rather precarious position due to its smaller population - as opposed to other Germanic countries. I've recently seen a documentary about Asian immigration to the Faroe Islands and I have to say I found it somewhat worrying, since the Faroes are also quite small.
    There is a lot of immigration as a lot of Icelanders love to be politically correct, inviting e.g. Syrian and Iraqi refugees over to live in small communities to better integrate. This then ends in finding refugees complaining about their housing situation (hotel) and collecting battery acid for "cleaning of apartment" purposes. Yeah, right. Luckily an opposition is rising; we will see if this will be enough.

    Concerning how Icelanders see each themselves: No, not as a part of a "greater Germanic culture", but as Icelanders only. The history is rich and uniquely alive with even Ásatrú being an official religion. Due to being such a small country, so few people, keeping it alive (similar to the Faroer Islands), Icelanders feel a bit special. Nevertheless they are totally fine with e.g Scandinavians, Germans, and so on, as long as they speak Icelandic and accustom to the Icelandic ways.
    Lík börn leika best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blutwölfin View Post
    ...but besides birds, arctic foxes and minks there are no wild animals in Iceland), nature gets trampled on, trash everywhere, and you really have a hard time finding an Icelander in Reykjavik.
    We have Artic foxes here in Scandinavia. That is one of our natural wild animal I would like to photograph one day. Unfortunately it is also one of the species which really hurts via global warming ... so no idea how long they can survive/ stay alive here. They are both smaller and weaker vs normal foxes etc. several other mammal predators. Huge amount of snow and very cold climate have helped them so far ... but they are moving (pushed by others) northern and northern all the time.

    You also have minks there (from North-America)? That's not good...

    Anyway how you/Icelanders see Scandinavian tourists?
    Do you have similar everyman's rights as we here (differing a lot what is ''normal/standard'' ... both in Europe but also in Germanic countries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finnish Swede View Post
    We have Artic foxes here in Scandinavia. That is one of our natural wild animal I would like to photograph one day. Unfortunately it is also one of the spices which really hurts via global warming ... so no idea how long there can stay alive here. They are both smaller and weaker vs normal foxes etc. other mammal predators. Huge amount of snow and very cold climate have helped them so far ... but they are moving (pushed by others) northern and northern all the time.

    You also have minks there (from North-America)? That's not good...

    Anyway how you/Icelanders see Scandinavian tourists?
    Do you have similar everyman's rights as we here (differing a lot what is ''normal/standard'' ... both in Europe but also in Germanic countries.


    Minks were imported for mink farming - and then escaped.
    Same with reindeer. But they are owned by the government today and they allow them to roam in the Southeast of Iceland (on the private land of their citizens - assholes )

    We love Scandinavians. We can understand you but you can't understand us. We don't understand Finnish, but all the Northerners have a similar mindset and fit very well.

    Yes, we have almannarétt in Iceland but LUCKILY it was changed a bit due to increasing tourism. After people started to camp and shit everywhere, literally in the garden of people (we had camper vans in front of our bedroom window and in our horse fields), caught lambs to barbecue and pillaged gardens for food, there are some new rules to it:

    1) In 2015 it was banned to camp outside organised camp grounds with campervans, cars, mobile homes, caravans, and so on. Only with a tent and on foot you were allowed to camp on private property if you were out of sight of buildings and not on used land.

    2) In 2017 all wild camping, no matter if with tent or campervan etc was banned in the West, South, and East of Iceland.

    3) You are not allowed to cross "ræktað land", so everything that is fenced in or used in any other way, is illegal to cross without the permission of the land owner. Landowners can deny access to their property by signs.

    People behaving badly caused the closure of Fjaðragljúfur (temporary) and Grjótagjá and will likely cause more closures in the future.
    Lík börn leika best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blutwölfin View Post
    I get so so so so tired of all these "super exciting facts" about Iceland where it says that we eat fermented shark and believe in elves.
    But you do, don't you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blutwölfin View Post
    It is FULL of tourists, but luckily the number is expected to go down. More than 2 million in 2018 and it has become a crowded Disneyland full of disrespectful people. Some tourists (Afghans with US residency) caught a lamb in a field and slaughtered it for barbecue because they thought "it was wild" (as if that would matter; but besides birds, arctic foxes and minks there are no wild animals in Iceland), nature gets trampled on, trash everywhere, and you really have a hard time finding an Icelander in Reykjavik. It makes you puke, honestly.
    2,3 million in 2018. Assuming every tourist stays for 7 days that would be 2,3M/(365 / 7)= 44112. So basically over 12% of the population at any given day are tourists. If we add to that the fact that 15% of the residents are immigrants of some sort then Iceland is about 30% non-Icelandic already.

    Also, if you visit the country as a tourist, you are far more likely to run into other tourists than average Icelanders because of hotels, airports, cities.

    https://www.ferdamalastofa.is/en/rec...reign-visitors

    There does seem to be a decrease from the last year, going by 2019 figures. Around 2 million instead of 2,3M.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Þoreiðar View Post
    Some people do once a year during Þórrablót, which is celebrated in the end of January, beginning of February. On this event all these oldfashioned foods are eaten. Also skata (fermented skate), súr hvalur (sour whale fat), svið (sheep head) and similar things. So it is still eaten but no common food. Rather an old memory when there were no other options to preserve food.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gegenschlag View Post
    2,3 million in 2018. Assuming every tourist stays for 7 days that would be 2,3M/(365 / 7)= 44112. So basically over 12% of the population at any given day are tourists. If we add to that the fact that 15% of the residents are immigrants of some sort then Iceland is about 30% non-Icelandic already.

    Also, if you visit the country as a tourist, you are far more likely to run into other tourists than average Icelanders because of hotels, airports, cities.

    https://www.ferdamalastofa.is/en/rec...reign-visitors

    There does seem to be a decrease from the last year, going by 2019 figures. Around 2 million instead of 2,3M.

    Yes, the number of tourists is going down, 2020 is expected to become like 2016. Which is good. The number drops because of lesser options to come here (after WOW are went bankrupt) but also because people don't "get" what they paid for. Iceland was always THE place to go if you're looking for solitude and emptiness, untouched nature and so on. Now, when you visit e.g. Gullfoss you stand in a line to get even to the parking lot, people everywhere, Jökulsárlón looks like an IKEA parking lot on a busy Saturday morning. There is really NO PLACE where not already someone is - and this is not what most people wanted to experience when they come to Iceland.

    In 2018 already the number of the "traditional visitors" (Germans, French, Scandinavians, etc.) went massively down whereas more US-Americans and Asians rushed in. Their seemed to have different "demands" and didn't care about crowded places, just snapped their pictures and went to the next stop.

    I honestly hope that the number goes down to 1.5 million per year. That is a number that Iceland can handle. The whole infrastructure isn't capable of so many people since it was built for the inhabitants only some decades ago, lots of gravel roads, single lane bridges and so on. Since almost all land is private owned, land owners can simply not afford to build parking lots, set up bins, toilets etc. to prevent the masses to damage the land for good. And the government just says: "Well, it's yours, so you take care of it."

    This lower number will also allow people to see Iceland again how it is supposed to be: sparsely populated, wide empty spaces, pure and unspoiled nature.

    And then, of course, I HATE it to go to any restaurant or supermarket, even in villages with less than 500 people, and not be able to order in Icelandic, because most of the people working in tourism service are from Eastern Europe and not speak A WORD Icelandic. I can hardly imagine that this would be possible somewhere else in the world.
    Lík börn leika best.

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