Postcard from Iceland :: Part 1
October 10th 2011
Turns out Reykjavik in Iceland is all the way on the other side of the world! There's your first fact. This isn't going to be an educational post, but there's something we´ve both learned.
FBi's Northen Lights trip has officially begun, taking in Iceland Airwaves Festival and as much music and culture as we can squeeze out of it. After well over 33 hours of travel, Rainbow Chan, Tank and I arrived in Reykjavik and although we were shattered from our long trip, that quickly turned to excitement as we took our first walk around the beautiful city. Reykjavik is small in comparison to Sydney, both geographically (you can walk through the main part of the city in 20 minutes or less) and in terms of population (just 300,000 people in Iceland, and around 80% live in Reykjavik). That means that with 250,000 people in Sydney listening to FBi each week, our audience is about the same as the population of Reyjavik!
We walked around town, popping in to some of the dozens of spaces being used as venues, with each hosting different events, from music to poetry to art and performance. It was already very clear that Reykjavik is a very creative place. It´s said that young people in Iceland are either fishermen or musicians. At first glance, I'd say they're all musicians.
Our first full day in Iceland would also be our only tourist day; every other day will be filled with music, both the making of and listening to. We started at a local cafe called Pridið (Pridith). Our tour guide was Benni from Gogoyoko, an Icelandic music website. Benni has helped us find local musicians to collaborate with, and he saved a day to show us the gorgeous natural sights outside of Reykjavik. Before we left the city, our first stop was the local flea markets; a mix of Paddy's Markets, second-hand vintage clothing and traditional and modern Icelandic wares, including food. I mention the food because it was here that Rainbow showed her true colours – nice and early – being the only one of the three of us willing to attempt the traditional delicacy of fermented shark. 'Putrified' shark might be closer to the truth. It's buried for six months before being dug up, cut in to cubes and eaten. The smell alone was enough for Tank and I to keep our distance, but Rainbow got stuck in to the local produce and even washed it down with some dried catfish.
With the after taste of poo-flavoured death in Rainbow´s mouth, the three of us and our lovely tour guide Benni left the city. We head to Þingvellir National Park, where we saw the original site of the oldest parliament in the world (from about 900 AD). The Atlantic rift was next – the spot where the American and European tectonic plates are slowly pulling Iceland apart, leaving large gorges behind them. We finished the day at Gullfoss waterfall, an impressive and beautiful waterfall with fast-flowing water, all running over volcanic rocks. Between the active volcanoes and geyser springs, you're never far away from the smell of sulphur (remember that rotten egg smell from high school science lessons? Yep, that's the one). The landscape was unlike anything we'd seen before. Sparse