10 Quick Facts On Iceland
Here are some interesting (and slightly random) facts on Iceland, the destination for our newest photo tour. – By Regina Muller
Iceland has a striking wintry landscape mixed with bizarrely fantastic lava fields, hot springs, mud pools and geysers. We’re excited that this stunning country is the destination for our newest trip; an Iceland photo tour guided by National Geographic photographer Tyrone Turner. On this photography workshop, we will explore Iceland’s photographic highlights, which include stunning waterfalls, powerful geysirs, icy lakes, and a hot steaming pool of a geothermal lagoon. Throughout the trip, we will stop at scenic local villages, learn about Icelandic culture, climb glaciers and capture the striking landscapes when the light is at its best. It will be an exciting photographic exploration of an absolutely unique country.
Before reading more about photographing the stunning landscapes of Iceland with us on a photo tour, here are ten quick (and slightly quirky) facts about the country.
1. Iceland is also approximately the size of Ohio (that’s TINY). Its area measures about 39,000 square miles.
2. Icelanders drink more Coca-Cola than the citizens of any other country. But they must be doing something right, because they also have the longest life-expectancy!
3. In Iceland, there is no army, navy, air-force (or, most importantly, mosquitos). Violent crime is practically non-existent. Only one man in the country’s history has ever been shot by the police, and since then, the force does not carry guns.
4. Iceland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. However, it is also an island. This means that, essentially, everyone is related, at least somewhat. A documentation of all familial links actually exists online, called the Islendingabok (The Book of Icelanders). It can provide you with all records on how another citizen of Iceland is related to you.
5. Icelanders are traditional. The national language is Norse, which dates back to thousands of years ago, and came from the Vikings. Ancient texts are easily readable for Icelanders of all ages, a very unique hobby, because everyone still learns the ancient language. Surnames are also comprised for people using the traditional Nordic system. An Icelander’s last name is the first name of their mother or father with ‘-dóttir’ attached. ‘Dóttir’ means son or daughter in Norse. Telephone book listings go alphabetically, using every individual’s first name! There is also an institution, the Iceland Naming Committee, which is in charge of registering and approving any new first names for babies that have not already been introduced to the Icelandic culture.
6. Hungry? Raw puffin heart, fermented shark, sheep head & pickled ram testicles are Icelandic delicacies.
7. Icelandic babies are trained to survive in the cold from day one. It is common for infants to be left outside in freezing temperatures for at least one nap every day.
8. No polar bears live in Iceland! However, on the very scarce occasion, one may drift into the glacial shores on a current from Greenland. They are very quickly escorted out of the country by wildlife professionals.
9. The country’s soil is not very gracious, and hardly any growing things can thrive. Potatoes, however, are very resilient. Throughout Iceland’s history, potatoes are traditionally eaten with every meal, and most families have a small potato garden outside their home. The alcoholic beverage Brennivin, distilled only in Iceland, is made from potatoes, and has a reputation of tasting quite unpleasant. Tradition runs strong, however, and Icelanders still stand by the drink, often pairing it with hakarl, or fermented (rotten) shark.
10. While Icelanders have a love for strange & unique food dishes, they are also modern and accessible. Hot dogs are the most popular food in Iceland- they are sold practically everywhere!
Keen to visit this unique country? Read more about our Iceland photo tour!