Thursday, November 28, 2013

Iceland: Hut, Hut, Hike!

America and Iceland define “intermediate” in decidedly different ways.  Here, when applied to a physical activity, “intermediate” suggests you may need to stand up.  There, it means “in all likelihood, you’ll die.”  So should you visit Iceland and go on an “intermediate hike,” as Maggie and I so unsuspectingly did, I offer you this guide that you might learn from our mistakes and perhaps live to tell the tale.

Pro Tip 1: Pick an honest guide.  To determine if a guide is honest, refer to their suggested packing list, and identify how many times the word “waterproof” appears.  For Iceland Mountain Guides, it was five, which put them just on the verge of veracity.  (Sun protection, on the other hand, was “optional.”  And highly optimistic.)  Once you have obtained your hiking attire, test it out by putting it on and throwing yourself into a swimming pool.  This simulates the experience that Icelanders call “going outside.”

Friday, November 1, 2013

Iceland: There's No Business Like Snow Business

Iceland is called Iceland for a reason.  10% of the country consists of glaciers, and the other 90% is snowy volcanos with little regard for European air space.  According to the Icelandic Tourist Board, “Iceland is actually green land, and Greenland is ice land,” but don’t listen.  They’re attempting to lure you to their country without sufficient winter wear so they can sell you very expensive coats.

In fact, Iceland’s entire publicity machine is geared toward making the country sound comfy/cozy, as opposed to freezing/oh-my-god-it’s-coldy.  On Icelandair, the planes have cute names (“Grab√≥k, the Friendly Volcano”), and the seats’ bibs announce “The most incredible thing about Iceland is…” and end in a variety of predicates, including “The prime minister is listed in the phone book” or “We have no army, navy, or air force [but don’t tell Germany].”  Only when you land in Iceland and promptly lose all feeling in your toes, do you realize that something more perfidious may be afoot.