Icelandic Charm

Iceland is uniquely gifted in its natural resources, which are converted to hydroelectricity and geothermal power, providing many households with direct access to hot spring water (I actually kind of like the reek of sulphur, and find it especially refreshing coming straight out from the tap). If you get lost on a hike, you have a pretty good chance of stumbling across geothermal water that you can bathe in, particularly in the Southwest. Moreover, geothermically heated town pools which cost roughly 4 euros to get in are widespread and a real treat if you don’t mind cannon balls of Icelandic children. I even tried the water slide that was apparently not designed for a 50 kg adult, because the momentum trailed mid-slide and I had to scoot myself down. It did come with adult-friendly amenities such as a steam room and various hot tubs of different temperatures though. It’s pretty much the Spanish bar equivalent of a social scene in Iceland. Plus, for the price of one beer in Iceland, you can go to the pool twice. I’d pick going to the pool twice.

Knitting is a popular past time in Iceland. Our Icelandic Airbnb host said that a lot of women knit to make some extra money. It is best to buy from farmer’s markets in the small towns than from tourist shops in Reykjavík because 1. things are cheaper 2. farmer’s markets sell sweaters made by Icelandic locals while many tourist shops sell sweaters made in factories in China. She said that for a sweater, which sells for roughly 100 euros, the knitter gets paid 50, 60 euros but they have to pay for their own yarn and it takes about a week. I guess knitting has to be a hobby because it doesn’t seem like something that pays the bills. I bought a pair of socks for 8 euros and a 90 euro sweater from the local market in Búðardalur . They are really warm and beautiful. Some of the knitters also sell their work online via Etsy.

Like in Faroe Islands, Icelandic people oddly hang their clothes outside, even when it’s completely cloudy or sometimes drizzling (like when it’s not pouring, it’s clearly good laundry weather). This remains to be a mystery to me.

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