Super cool Iceland
Iceland will always be a special place for me. I went there for my honeymoon and when I came back, I knew I had to share the beautiful stories with everyone and hence, And there she goes again was born! Other than being naturally beautiful, Iceland is an epitome of equality. Let me tell you the ten of the coolest things about Iceland.
Icelanders take their stories very seriously. Do you know that more than 50 % of people still believe in the folklore of Elves, the hidden people? What is even cooler is, there is an Elf School in Reykjavik where you can study about them and can have a diploma in Elf studies! Before you start booking your tickets already, let me tell you that this school offers classes or special sessions on Friday evenings and usually have one-day lessons only. More details can be found out on the Elfschool website.
If you are tipping off the Elfschool as a tourist trap, wait for a minute. You need to read this to understand how serious this Elf business is in Iceland. A road project was delayed by environmentalists and Elf advocates because it involved breaking a rock which was supposed to be Elf church. And no this did not happen 100 years ago but just 3 years ago! Statements like “It will be a terrible loss and damaging both for the elf world and for us humans,” made rounds in local and international newspapers. Read the news article here.
“The problem with driving around Iceland is that you’re basically confronted by a new soul-enriching, breath-taking, life-affirming natural sight every five goddamn minutes. It’s totally exhausting.” – Stephen Markley
“Bump the app before you bump in bed.” Believe it or not, it is the promotional motto of the Anti-incest app (ÍslendingaApp) in Iceland. With a small population of approx. 300000, Icelandic people have a high chance of being related to each other through previous six or seven generations. This app was created to trace one’s forefathers and distant cousins (and to remind you if you forget your grandparents birthdays). Things got interesting when three software engineers took things in their hands by including an ‘anti-incest feature’ in the genealogy charts. To avoid the risk of kissing someone very close in the genetic tree, incest prevention alarm will notify you if you are getting too close to a distant relative (if both have downloaded the app). Well, we all know nothing good comes out of incest (Remember Joffrey from Game of Thrones?).
Post without name and address
How many times are you miffed with your post service when the postman delivers it at wrong address? Not in Iceland. It turns out that you do not even need the exact address or even name to get your letter delivered. A sender in Iceland drew a map and wrote helpful hints like: “A horse farm with an Icelandic/Danish couple and three kids and a lot of sheep!” and “the Danish woman works in a supermarket in Búðardalur” on a letter (picture above). Thankfully the area has a low-residency of approx 300 people and postman actually took the effort of finding the family and delivering them the letter. Isn’t it insane? Don’t believe me? Read the article here.
One of the safest countries in the world. The first time Police had shot anyone EVER in the entire history of Iceland was in December 2013. Exactly. That is how safe Iceland is. Regular police do not even carry guns with them. Special squad named, Viking Squad (yes! You read it right, Viking squad) is the one that keeps guns but they are not usually called. No wonder you see cool photos of Police officers playing Darth Vader with kids or saving cats on the official Instagram account of Reykjavik Police. It is a delight. You have to see it! And while you are at it, find me there as well 🙂
“Consistently rated the most peaceable of all countries in the world by the Global Peace Index, Iceland has reduced its military expenditure to zero, has no armed forces, and has reduced the inequality gap between rich and poor” – Scilla Elworthy
Other than being one of the safest countries in the world, Iceland is also known for its remarkable gender equality culture. Gender equality has been an agenda in Iceland since 1850s. Since then women had equal inheritance rights as men. Women got their right to vote already in 1915. While most of the countries are still struggling to have a balanced ration of genders at workspaces, Iceland boasts of having about 60-40 ratio. Other than that, Iceland is one of the first countries to have openly gay ministers in the government. Did I tell you they once elected a comedian (No, I am not talking about Trump!) Jón Gnarr as the mayor of Reykjavik who promised them free towels in all the swimming pools and polar bear in the local zoo? His campaign started as a joke but eventually became a symbol of change!
Tourism after bankruptcy
Iceland was on the verge on being bankrupt after the 2008 banking meltdown. But it bounced back and shifted its major economy to tourism and fishing! It was a win-win situation for everyone. Iceland got ways to earn money and people like us could finally travel around in Iceland (which, by the way, is still pretty expensive!).
“In Reykjavik, Iceland, where I was born, you are in the middle of nature surrounded by mountains and ocean. But you are still in a capital in Europe. So I have never understood why I have to choose between nature or urban” – Bjork
Iceland is one of the few countries that rely heavily on renewable energy. Can you guess how much? 100%! Heating, electricity, everything is produced from renewable resources (Geothermal, hydropower, wind). It is the largest green energy producer per capita and largest electricity producer per capita. You can see some of those plants on the Golden circle. But the most impressive thing is, when the government realized that excessive tourism is affecting the environment severely, they planned to backlash it via taxing the Airbnbs, making them more expensive. As I mentioned before Iceland in currently heavily dependent on tourism, but conservation of the environment is their first priority!
Literacy rates and love for books
Iceland is a nation of bookworms. Being such a small country, it has the highest number of books read per person. Not only that, one in every ten Icelanders publishes their own book. Books are considered the best Christmas present (I think I should move there! Soon!) to an extent that there is a term in Icelandic called jólabókaflóð, the Christmas book flood. It refers to the large number of books published just before Christmas.
“There is no more sagacious animal than the Icelandic horse. He is stopped by neither snow, nor storm, nor impassable roads, nor rocks, glaciers, or anything. He is courageous, sober, and surefooted. He never makes a false step, never shies. If there is a river or fjord to cross (and we shall meet with many) you will see him plunge in at once, just as if he were amphibious, and gain the opposite bank.” -Jules Verne
Yes! Horses, not ponies! Very sensitive in Iceland. Icelandic horses are considered one of the purest breeds of horses in the world. So pure that if a horse leaves Iceland, it is not allowed to be brought back. Serious business here, dude! They show 5 different gaits compared to three gaits in other horses. One of its gaits, known as Tölt, is considered to be the most stable gait to ride. So stable that people have beer carrying sport on them. Yes! Beer in glasses while riding horses! Like all the facts above, I am not kidding here as well. Have a look at this video for fun!
What do you think?
Iceland is much more in terms of a nation than just beautiful and stunning landscapes. Have you heard of any other country this cool? If yes, let me know in comments below. I would love to know more 🙂
“Iceland sets a world record. The UN asked people from all over the world a series of questions. Iceland stuck out on one thing. When we were asked what do we believe, 90% said ‘ourselves’. I think I am in that group. If I get into trouble, there is no God or Allah to sort me out. I have to do it myself.” – Bjork
What do you think now? Do you agree that Iceland is one of the coolest nations? Let me know in comments below. And of course, feel free to like and share the article from the links on the sidebar. For more such article, let’s connect on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Pinterest). You can also find these links on the top right sidebar 🙂
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