Icelanders are kooky

Iceland is one of the weirdest places I’ve ever been to. As in weird-good. I spent 10 days here and got seriously disorientated. When I travel I absorb factoids – cultural ticks, fashion quirks, mannerisms etc. When I visited Iceland a week or so ago, the factoids rained down on me. From all angles. Mostly via Icelanders themselves who love to share their quirkiness with others, I found.

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We loved this chick…feisty and wanting to learn to surf in Australia

Add to this the long daylight hours, the lunar-like landscape and the FRIGGEN cold (11 degrees and it was SUMMER)…and it all added up to a whole lottta weird.

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The glaciers down south…stay tuned for my next post for hiking highlights

The weirdness of the place has spawned a people who fully embrace intuitive, kooky, whimsical, creative living. Take a look below images, shot by Marija, my travel buddy. I’ll jazz things up with some of the factoids I was drowned in while we wandered. Consider this A Romp Through Kooky Iceland… For Your Visual Pleasure.

An update: A lot of Icelanders have come across this post and contributed extra detail to the factoids I share here. As some (Icelanders) have pointed out, it’s a very Icelandic thing to be pedantic. I also think it’s a very (delightfully) Icelandic thing to be so engaged and to be such good sports about it. I have gone through and made a few corrections. Consider me updated, Iceland!

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Yes kooky…

Marija and I hiked and drove around the place. And ate. The rest of the time we hung in Reykjavic, a truly fun, café and bar-filled city, and wandered about to check out the locals.

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Marija thought the Icey kookiness had rubbed off on me…

But to some factoids: Dogs were banned in Reykjavic until 1985; beer until 1988 [correction: 1989]. No reason given [update: see comments below – I’ve now been given the reason.]

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Dapper lads everywhere. Solemn. Almost comically so. They’d agree.

Folk here are wonderfully acerbic. Notoriously so. Which means a very take-the-piss sense of humour, expressions devoid of… expression, and self-directed jokes about how dry and expressionless they are.

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Just a beautiful Reykjavik boy we accosted

The men here are in a great head space. Young boys are extremely open and expressive and creative.  A joy to observe…

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Love that this kid knows what he’s doing… in a Punky Brewster kinda way
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Nordic cute.
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That beautiful boy again…

Little boys are super free and expressive and dance a lot.

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These little tackers danced with their shirts off for well over an hour at a street party. Totally serious. Totally unaffected. Totally vibing the crowd.
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This kid kept us entertained for 45 minutes. Seriously good stunts.
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I wanted to take all of them home with me.

This video is just so cute.


As is she.

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Oh goodness.

Fashion is a focus…but in the most off-beat, no-rules way. The clothes and shoes are rather (how shall I say it?) craft-project-ish. But the way they like to put things together is just so much fun. Take a look:

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Pat-Mc-Enroe-Hell-Yeah. Someone on Instagram commented that they thought this kid was channeling me (!?)
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Love this look. So clean and unaffected.

Everyone has hobbies and is arty. Men knit. Mountain guides play in 23-piece ironic punk-rock bands. And there are festivals and street parties almost every weekend. Each night that we wandered around, there was a folk band or a Dixieland ensemble or a bunch of kid rappers and breakdancers performing in a dingy bar or on a random patch of concrete.

Icelanders are kooky
Tights. Icelanders love a tight.
The population is roughly that of Canberra. There is a distinct “functional besa-brick” Canberra aesthetic to the place, too.
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I want her to be my Year Ten art teacher

 Icelanders are some of the longest-lived folk in the world. And yet they’re the biggest consumers of Coke on the planet. And their junk food is dire.

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More dapper kook

Despite having some of the longest periods of darkness on the planet, they have a low rate of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and depression [amendment: in relation to other Northern Hemisphere countries]. Some put this down to the fish they eat.

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Young kids. The girls love to paint in their eyebrows. Heavily.

Iceland boasts the first openly gay, and the first female, Prime Minister/President in the world.

They’re late and disorganised. Notoriously so. Very odd for a Nordic country. But as Alda Sigmundsdóttir, author of The Little Book of Icelanders, says: “The Icelanders are the Southern Europeans of Northern Europe”.

Icelanders are kooky
This chick 80s dance-motioned to her friends in the upstairs bar. For about 10 minutes. I think she was saying, “buy me a GnT”.

They’re quiet. Cafes and shops don’t generally have music. I loved this.

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Cool young parents abound. Everyone here tends to marry [correction: have children] early…to people they meet at uni (at the age of 20 onwards; high school/college lasts until the age of 20 here).
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This mum and daughter belong in a Kinfolk magazine shoot. Kooky. Inspiringly so.
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“Ya’ll seen Texas?”

And by way of a final visual comment….this, taken when I walked over a spurty bit on the side of a volcano….

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Yep, Marija was right…

Inspired to go to Iceland? Or to mix up your style a bit? As fascinated by the factoids as I am?

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