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Off to Iceland!

On Friday morning I head off to Iceland!  I'm super duper DUPER excited.  I'm going for all the fun personal reasons that traveling is awesome, but also to gain a sensory experience of Reykjavik for my novel-in-progress.  I could write about how I struggle with feeling guilty over such opportunities, how that makes me want to downplay how amazing they are and thus not fully experience them.  But I'm trying to stop being that way, so instead I'd rather write about all the fun facts I've been learning about Iceland in order to get ready for my visit.  In no particular order, these are things that fascinate me about Iceland:

  • Their phone book is alphabetical by first name.  Because people traditionally take on their mother or father's first name plus "döttir" for daughters, or "son" for sons (I would be Christin Garysdöttir) for a surname, thus rendering their last names kind of slippery, it's just easier to look them up by first name.  Likewise, professors are referred to by their first name.  Which seems very California to me.
  • NASA used to conduct lunar training there, since it has terrain that is not dissimilar to the moon.  Oh my gosh you guys, I'm going to the moon!
  • The population is only 310,000.  The literacy rate is 100%.  In the 1960s, there were 40 bookshops in the capital.  They have virtually no pollution because of their wealth of geothermal resources for powering the country.  They have hot springs, glaciers, and sand dunes (doesn't that sound like an episode of Lost?).  Police don't carry guns because the crime rate is so low.  Once a year, those in parliamentary must speak entirely in rhyme.  There are no ruins.  The Mid-Atlantic Ridge runs right through the middle, so technically it is split into two continents.
(My sources are a jumble of Meltdown Iceland, by Roger Boyes, Falling off the Map, by Pico Iyer and my shiny new Bradt Iceland guidebook by Andrew Evans)

There's the image you have in your head of a place before you actually go there, and then there's reality.  Right now the image in mine is so amazing I'm afraid the reality can only disappoint.  But I have a sneaking suspicion it won't.  Either way, I can't wait!  

I have some specific places I plan to visit, things I want to see from my own and my protagonist's point of view, but I'm also hoping to luck upon sights, sounds and smells that inspire.  If you're reading this and know anyone in Reykjavik (or are someone in Reykjavik) who would be up for meeting me for coffee or a meal while I'm there, let me know. I will devote an entire post to how awesome you are in return!

just a few of the books that will be coming with me: My guidebook, of course, and W.H. Auden & Louis MacNeice's Letters from Iceland, plus Reykjavik thriller Jar City by Arnoldur Indridason


  1. Gangi þér vel! So incredibly jealous, I mean happy for you.


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