Where do they live - 13 different Santa Clauses? Why can not you get in jail with all? What kind of beer do not love the whales? And where you can touch two continents simultaneously with your hands?
When you are playing “name a city” and it’s your turn to name the next city, for example, starting in “R”, willy-nilly, your mind comes to Reykjavik – the capital of Iceland. There is such a city. But where it is and what kind of country is this Iceland – it’s already the second question.
So. Approximately 1000 kilometers away from the continental Europe in the middle of the ocean an island is located. At the time (and it was in the 9th century AD), the Vikings settled it and started calling it Iceland.
And I was there. And, by the way, I drank some beer. And all because of one remarkable Icelandic brewery, which decided to make a promotional video. And when they saw our cartoon, they came up with a strange idea … But a little later about this.
I hasten to say – Iceland is the strangest country that I have ever seen. That is for sure. Having been here, you feel like you flew to another planet.
The word Ísland is translated as “land of ice”, and perhaps this is the first association with this country. But, in fact, it is relatively warm here! The average winter temperature does not fall below -4°C, and summer maximum reaches the level of + 20°C. And yet, the climate is changeable due to strong winds. Icelanders often say, “If you do not like the weather, just wait 5 minutes”.
Though in the country of “the most of the most” – the weather is not the decisive factor. The most unsettled country – 3 persons per square kilometer, the largest volcanic island, the largest glacier, the largest waterfall and many more “the most of the most” – it is all here, in Iceland. The capital of Iceland – Reykjavik – is the most northerly metropolis in the world (64 north latitude), founded in the year 874. And it got its name for the eruption of geothermal vapors from geothermal sources, and it literally means “Smoky Bay”.
Iceland also has
– people-survivor (you will not surprise anyone with the age of 100-110 years)
– natural energy, which is enough for the whole Europe
– elves that really live out there
– 13 Santa Clauses (each with his own character!)
– former Prime Minister – out-and-proud gay (lesbian)
– crazy tidal motion with the exact water flow arrival and departure schedule, so at a certain time of the day you can safely walk on the ocean floor
– a prison sentence can be divided into “convenient fragments”: stay in prison one month, and spend another one at home for solving some important issues. Getting into prison is something not so easy to do, you will even have to stand in a queue – the prison is full with the Poles and Lithuanians, and is not designed for a large number of criminals.
In addition, Iceland doesn’t have:
– central heating – heating gets into the pipes from natural sources, i.e. practically free of charge.
About the sheepeternal
If you previously thought that the “shaggy gold” is a privilege of the New Zealand, I am sorry for you. The Wool of the Icelandic sheep Merino is considered the best in the world! Possibly, this is because the local sheep live on their own all year round, they also shelter from the weather by their own forces, and as a result the animal accumulates not just some simple wool, but the best in the whole wide world, such that is capable of keeping you warm in the northern climate. Accidentally in Reykjavik, after having tried on a shirt made of this wool, I did not want to take it off. That’s how I became a devoted fan of the icebreaker clothes made of the wool of sheep “Merino”, which are bred in Iceland. I recommend it to everyone, and I wear it day and night – I have never worn anything like this before. By the way, the annual export of knitted products from Iceland is higher than any other country! In fact, it is not only exported. All Icelanders were lopapeysa – a knitted cardigan from the same wool with a distinctive national design.
About the cuisine
Imagine that you have come to dine in the gourmet restaurant. Open the menu and read the range of dishes: dried fish, black pudding, pickled ram’s testicles, turnip puree, jelly of lamb horns and hooves, pickled whale meat, sheep’s head, a piece of rotten shark…
What’s going on, where is food for humans, where are we? – you will ask.
Welcome to Iceland! – is the answer you will get.
So, the most popular specialties of the country of geysers:
Kiviak – This dish is a seal, stuffed with seagulls. To prepare kiviaka, take one killed seal, behead him, and stuff its belly with the dead, previously plucked gulls. Then the half-ready dish is immersed in the permafrost for seven months. At the end of cooking period, kiviak is dug out and eaten solemnly, praising the gods.
Slatur – is sheep offal, sewn into the gastric bubble; mixed with flour and lard and packed in pouches made of sheep’s stomachs stitched together
Sur Hvalyur is a pickled whale, aged in whey
Haukartl – is rotten shark meat. The smell of this dish reminds of the “incense” that are common in dirty public restrooms. The fact is that the Greenland shark does not have kidneys and urinary tract, so its meat is permeated with ammonia. Ammonia is a poison for people, but ancient Vikings came up with the idea to put the meat of the caught shark in a box and leave it underground for three months. When the shark becomes rotten, ammonia evaporates and the meat can be eaten.
Sweezy – is half f boiled sheep’s head. It is boiled or pickled sheep’s head, which had previously been scorched and sawed in half.
Hrutspungar – is pickled testicles of a young lamb, which are put under the press and turn into a kind of cookie before serving.
Diving between America and Europe
To have some rest in the process of eating local delicacies, I decided to do a freediving in Silfre. This I will cover in a separate report. Right now I will only say that the dive in the pristine waters of Iceland in a crevice between two tectonic plates (the North American and Eurasian) at a water temperature of +2 degrees is one of the most profound emotional experiences over the past few years.
Beer and Death
Within the two days, I certainly did not have time to see all of the beauty and wonders, but my jaw is still fallen. So I’d tell you better about the main purpose of the trip to this planet.
The fact is that the symbol of the brewery Brugghús Steðja is the anvil. You see? Of course, they have decided to use our Christmas cartoon with death for a beer advertisement.
We were certainly surprised by the marketing idea to promote alcohol with death. But on the other hand – this is correct: If you drink – you will die. Sooner or later. Like all those who do not drink, and maybe even later than they.
The guys were calling us on a visit without accepting the excuses that we have no free time. And when it turned out that they had already bought the tickets, we gave up and decided to come and meet, and to think what to do at the site. So, this is how Dji went to the harsh, northern country.
Dagbjartur Ingvar Arilíusson (you can say just Tapi) (Tapi jacket is that very national costume) and his wife received us very warmly – took us to various interesting Icelandic wonders – geysers, rivers, mountains, farms, and fed us to satiety with a stunning lamb leg.
And what could we drink with such charms? Of course, the legendary Icelandic beer made of whale testicles!
Namely this beer is brawn by the brewery Brugghús Steðja. Tapi shared the secret of brewing —
Beer is made from pure Icelandic water, barley malt, hops and whale testicles, smoked with sheep excrement – and this method gives the beer great smoky flavor notes, which you’ve never met before
When I asked whether they are sorry for the whales or not, Tapi said that, firstly, the additive is in miniscule amounts (as I understand, it is 99% marketing), and secondly, the commercial whaling is allowed in Iceland, and is controlled by the authorities of the country.
In addition, the fishery participants have a serious approach to this matter. According to researches, the herring whale in the North Atlantic is not threatened with extinction.
And then we had a tour through the brewery:
Yes, the Icelanders know how to persuade by using prohibited methods – roasted lamb legs, 12 beer brands, and a tour through another planet.
I admit I was skeptical when going there. But after visiting this alien country, I realized that you can not surprise anyone with anything.
Even with the Death that advertises beer. And perhaps here it is the most logical marketing move. :) Oh well, let part of Moldova stay in this crazy northern country.