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Old 05 May 2004, 18:28   #1
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Supernatural ICELAND

For those of you who are interested in participating MarkWildey expedition trip to ICELAND in 2005 here are few interest tips which might be worth to know.

Elves, trolls and ghosts:

Surveys show that despite their obsession with modern technology, as many as 80% of Icelanders believe in the existence of elves. Even today, roads have been rerouted and building plans redesigned or abandoned to avoid disturbing rocks where elves are said to live. All around the country, strange lava formations were once explained in folktales as trolls who were turned to stone when caught outdoors in daylight. But only children in Iceland believe in trolls today, and the once widespread belief in ghosts is in decline, some say because electricity has taken the fright out of the long winter nights.
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:29   #2
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A different kind of fauna

Contrary to what many people think, there are no polar bears in Iceland. Admittedly, every ten years or so a polar bear arrives as an accidental tourist on an ice floe from Greenland, but they aren't invited to stay. The Arctic fox is the only native mammal. Reindeer live in the wild in east Iceland, but were only imported in the 18th century. Mink have also adapted to the wild, the descendants of animals which escaped from fur farms in the 1930s. A number of pedigree animal stocks are found in Iceland which have disappeared elsewhere, descended from domesticated breeds brought over by the Vikings, including the Icelandic horse, cow, sheep and sheepdog. Marine mammals are also found in abundance along the coasts, especially minke whale, humpback whale, fin whale and several species of seals. Some whale watching tour operators claim 98% success rates for sightings.
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:31   #3
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Christmas tradition

The 13 Yuletide Lads and their Monster Mum
Icelandic children count down the days to Christmas with a much older, darker and fun tradition than the multinational Santa Claus. In Iceland, there are 13 Yuletide Lads who come to town from the nearest local mountain, one a day until December 23. Each is named after a particular prank he always plays Sausage Snatcher, Door Slammer, Candle Swiper, Pot Licker, etc. and at bedtime children put a shoe in the window where the Yuletide Lad of the day is supposed to leave a small present. The 13 pranksters' mother is Gryla, an ogress who lives on a diet of boiled naughty children, and their father is the layabout Leppaluði. People who do not receive any new clothes as a Christmas present, incidentally, do not need to worry about being seen in public afterwards folklore tradition says they are eaten by a giant cat.
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:32   #4
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The Viking settlers

Oldest national parliament in the world
Iceland was settled in the year 874 by Ingolfur Arnarson, who as he approached land threw overboard the pillars of his high seat from his home in Norway and asked the gods to wash them ashore where the wanted him to live. He landed in southeast Iceland and spent three years searching the shore until he found his pillars in a place he named Reykjavik (Smoky Bay) after the geothermal steam he saw rising there and he built a farm in what is now the heart of downtown in Iceland's capital. Although Ingolfur was the first settler in Iceland, he was not the first visitor. Ten years earlier, a Faroese Viking called Naddodd was blown off course and saw a place which he called Snowland. Swedish Viking Gardar Svavarsson set off to find Snowland, sailed around it to prove it is an island, and wintered in the north in what is now Husavik ("Bay of Houses"). His slave Nattfari ran away and presumably became the first unofficial settler, if he survived. But Iceland was named by Norwegian Viking Raven-Floki, who barely lived through the winter in the West Fjords after he forgot to store up hay for his livestock. In spring he saw a fjord full of ice and gave the country the chilliest name he could think, then left and never went back. Irish sources describe a country to the north which could be Iceland, and the earliest Icelandic accounts say the first Vikings found Irish monks living in the country, who left because they could not stand the company of pagans.
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:34   #5
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Treeless Iceland

Why aren´t there any trees in Iceland?
Ancient Icelandic writings from the 12th tell how the settlers three centuries earlier found a country that was covered with trees from mountain to shore. The fact that they mention this point suggests that trees were already becoming scarcer then. Over the centuries they were chopped down for timber and firewood, while grazing sheep, harsh winters and ash from volcanic eruptions caused erosion that prevented trees from taking root. Reforestation work began early this century and although there is still only one proper forest in the country (Hallormstadaskógur in the east), Iceland today plants more trees per head of population than any other nation in the world around four million a year, or 16 for every man, woman and child.
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:35   #6
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Traditional food

Get your teeth into tradition
Most visitors are full of praises for Iceland's ocean-fresh seafood and mouthwatering mountain lamb, but these are only part of the local culinary experience. Traditional food is also served, made using the only preservation methods available when people had to store up for the winter in the days before refrigerators. Some is delicious, some is different, and is very good to boast about to your friends after you've finished it. Meat was commonly smoked, and the delicious hangikjöt (smoked lamb) is still popular today. Among dairy products, a big favourite with visitors is skyr (curds), especially served with fresh bilberries in late summer. On the more adventurous side is slátur, which literally means "slaughter" but is like haggis. And for those with nerves of steel and stomachs of iron, the menu for the Thorri midwinter feast (January/February) is a real challenge. Delicacies there include some quite indelicate cuts of meat, including boiled sheep's head (on the bone or pressed), ram's testicles pickled in whey, and loin bags. But what really sorts the men out from the boys is rotten shark, cured by burying, washed down with a well-deserved shot of Black Death schnapps. Hint for beginners: if you manage to get it past your nose, you're half way there.
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:36   #7
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Ice and fire

Glaciers and volcanoes side by side
Contrasting forces of ice and fire exist side by side in Iceland. Some 11% of the countrys surface is covered with glaciers and about 30% is lava fields. On average, a volcano erupts every five years, but fortunately only rarely where anyone lives. Vatnajökull glacier, measuring 8,400 km=, is the largest ice cap in Europe in fact it is larger than all the other glaciers in Europe combined. But rather like the character of the Icelanders themselves, theres fire beneath the icy surface. In 1996 and 1998, volcanoes erupted under the ice of Vatnajökull, pushing up new mountains and causing huge meltwater floods along the uninhabited south coast.
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:37   #8
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Wow! Beautiful pictures and fascinating folklore and information. Not sure about the edible delicacies though! Iceland seems to be a 'must visit' place! Looking forward to meeting up again at RIBex, Bogi.

Oops! Sorry for butting in.
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:38   #9
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Icelandic names

A nation of sons and daughters
Everyone in Iceland is on first name terms, and people are even listed by first names in the telephone directory. Most Icelanders still use the old Viking patronymics instead of family surnames, with different forms for sons and daughters. For example, a man called Haraldur Magnusson and his wife Helga Jonsdottir might have a son called Petur whose final name would then be Haraldsson, and a daughter called Ingibjörg Haraldsdottir. Logical enough, but the naming system sometimes raises eyebrows at passport control and hotel reception desks when Icelanders travel abroad. In the age of womenís lib, increasing numbers of children are being given matronymics, i.e. identified as the son or daughter of their mother rather than their father
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:42   #10
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Ancient Viking language

On speaking terms with the Vikings
The Vikings who settled Iceland in the ninth and tenth centuries brought with them their language which has remained basically unchanged ever since. Literacy has been widespread ever since the first sagas were written down in the thirteenth century, and people today can still read them without difficulty. Unlike most western cultures, there are no real dialects and the best language tends to be spoken in the countryside rather than the big city. One strange feature of Icelandic is that it refuses to accept foreign words, but almost always coins new words from ancient Viking roots for even the most complex technological concepts. A classic example is the word for computer: tölva, a hybrid formed from old words for number and prophetess.
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Old 05 May 2004, 18:43   #11
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Land still taking shape

The youngest country in the world
Geologically speaking, Iceland is hardly out of playschool, since it only began to rise from the North Atlantic seabed about 25 million years ago, the product of volcanic eruptions that are still going on today. Parts of the country are still so rugged that American astronauts chose Iceland as a training ground to prepare them for landing on the moon. And Iceland is still taking shape before peoples eyes: the newest land is Surtsey, an island which rose from the sea during an underwater eruption off the south coast in 1963.
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Old 05 May 2004, 20:17   #12
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Breath taking photo's Bogib. Need to write Iceland down for a future holiday destination. I'd like to drive one of those 1500hp Tonka toys over some of that fantasic scenery or do a bit of Paracarting across that beach of yours.

I see your a purchasing and sales manager, it wouldn't be for the Icelandic tourist board would it!!

Andy
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Old 05 May 2004, 20:49   #13
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No Andy (Hightower) I do not work for the Icelandic Tourist Beareau although I love promoting my country. I also like your neighbourhood as I have been there many times in the past. I actually work for three companies, primarly for a pharmaceutical company as assistant purchasing manager covering our factories in Iceland and Malta (this position I will take middle of this month), then I am helping my sister and brother in law at their business as purchasing/sales manager they are sole supplier and installer of blue lights / sirens and communication systems to the Icelandic Police, Ambulances and Fire services (www.radioraf.is) and finally I am purchasing supervisor consultant to a RV company (which imports and sell tent trailers). In my spare time I spend with my family, traveling in my country and abroad also I am working on starting RIB racing again in UK as from 2005 season. if you come over please pop in for a tea
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Old 06 May 2004, 01:51   #14
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interesting and enjoyable!

Thanks Bogib
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Old 06 May 2004, 06:16   #15
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Very interesting Bogib!
I've always wanted to visit Iceland...one of these days.

Sean
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Old 06 May 2004, 13:43   #16
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All those Jobs.......You have spare time!! Yes I'll accept your hospitality and come to tea when I visit, oh yeh stock up on two weeks supply of food and beer please .

What type of trailer tents, I have a Raclet.

Andy
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Old 06 May 2004, 13:48   #17
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Andy not a problem I will have loads of supply, I know Raclet very well as I sold it for few years same as we represented Conway over here too, however Combi Camp is the one I know best and is the most popular tent trailer in Iceland and has record since 1967, I have been sellling tent trailers since 1987 and I import my first boat 1978. If you are thinking of bringing your car and Raclet over have a look at this website. http://www.smyril-line.fo/
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Old 06 May 2004, 14:04   #18
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Stunning Bogib!!!


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Old 09 May 2004, 17:10   #19
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Summer 2004 exhibition

Here is one for you Hightower, me at the Summer 2004 exhibition this morning prior to the opening front of Combi Camp tent trailers.
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Old 10 May 2004, 04:16   #20
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Iceland a Scenic Landscape

Hi Bogib,

Trully stunning, I certainly hope to see it soon. I Hope to be heading over your way in July or August in the company of some very prestigious travellers/Adventurers.

For Mark and the other Ribsters it will be a trip of a lifetime enjoy.

Regards
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