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.

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.

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!

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.

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.]

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.

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…

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

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

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.
This kid kept us entertained for 45 minutes. Seriously good stunts.
I wanted to take all of them home with me.

This video is just so cute.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iZmtWumJXY[/youtube]

As is she.

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:

Pat-Mc-Enroe-Hell-Yeah. Someone on Instagram commented that they thought this kid was channeling me (!?)
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.

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.
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.

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.

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”.

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.

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).
This mum and daughter belong in a Kinfolk magazine shoot. Kooky. Inspiringly so.
“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….

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?

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • s.lindgren

    I am thinking the exact same thing.:O

  • s.lindgren

    Oh that beautiful boy! Sadly no chance of finding him in New Zealand!:(

  • RachelS

    I had a great time there in 2005 and would love to visit again. I really love Icelandic sheep!

  • karen

    just spent 3 days in Iceland and was absolutely shocked by all the thoroughly gorgeous tall and handsome males….and I mean at EVERY age of the spectrum from the youngest to most senior of citizens! When people say they love the scenery in Iceland they aren’t just referring to the landscape! ??

  • f

    want fly to visit this country immediately

  • carlo delarosa

    who is the boy with gray sweater ,,,
    he’s so cute

  • Stella

    All I want to know is… Who is that beautiful boy?!