Well, it’s literally been three whole months since I was actually in Iceland and I had planned on writing a lot of posts about my trip. This post I started planning along my journey, with a lot of help from the friend I was staying with in Reykjavik-a native Icelander. The idea came to me when I realised just how frustrated she got at some of the things I – along with some other tourists – did. I saw some patterns emerging and thought I’d send out a warning 😉
Don’t insult the water
This is a big one. Definitely number 1 on my list. If you want to insult an Icelander, all you have to do is hate their water (which is impossible tbh). Luckily this is not a mistake I made, but my friend told me of countless times working in the food industry where tourists would refuse to drink the tap water. And one instance where someone even tried to purify it. Like when you’re camping in the wilderness except you have running water from a tap and you’re in a perfectly safe area. So yeah, they are super proud of their water (as they should be-it’s perfect). The water in Iceland is the same in the faucets as it is in the bottles*. At a restaurant, don’t order bottled water-it’s dumb. It’s the same water. And it has a crisp, fresh taste straight out of the tap. In fact i’d go as far as to say it’s one of the safest places in the world to drink tap water. Plus it’s free. Come on guys, it’s win-win.
*Disclaimer: don’t even try to drink the tap water when it’s hot. It has levels of sulphur and it sure tastes like it. So yeah, drink the cold water to your heart’s content but don’t drink the hot water straight from the tap.
Don’t stop every 5 minutes to take photos
I dare you to try it. No but seriously, surely it’s common sense courtesy not to do this? This is something I definitely saw a lot of, especially in Reykjavik. Tourists walking down the road very literally stop in front of cars to take selfies. Plus, it’s not even just something I saw walking tourists do. Driving at 90kmph on a dusty road, cars literally stop without warning to take photos. What’s up with that? You wouldn’t do that on a busy road in England, why are you doing it in Iceland? Indicate! Pull over! Do anything! I mean seriously…ok I think this one pissed me off just as much as it did my friend. So yeah, if you’re planning to annoy the locals, stop in the middle of the road to take photos.
Don’t be Bill Clinton
Now this is not what you think (although I don’t know what you’d be thinking at this point). And it’s something I am definitely guilty of doing. I was Bill Clinton and it was awkward. Basically, in 2004 Bill Clinton visited Iceland and had a hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (translation:The best hotdog in town). If you google this momentous day, the information you will get is that the ‘Clinton Effect'(yes apparently that’s a thing) has caused the small hotdog business to flourish and thrive, because Clinton went there and you kind of get the idea that all of Iceland rejoiced and he saved the small business from collapse with his presidential endorsement. Man, no. If you ask an Icelander what the correlation is between Clinton and Hotdogs they won’t say that. They will in fact tell you that Bill Clinton visited Iceland once, went to the greatest hot dog stand ever and ordered it basically plain. Dun dun dun. Yeah they all laugh at how he went to the best hot dog place in town and didn’t order the best hotdog because he’s boring. Although to be perfectly honest I ordered mine plain too. And I have to say it was perfectly delicious. Although the awkward look I got from the vendor will burn in my mind forever. Just saying. So, if you want to be the brunt of an Icelandic joke, all you gotta do is be Bill Clinton.
Don’t butcher the language
“Stop, you’re butchering the language” – Direct quote from my friend after my disastrous attempt to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull. And no-it doesn’t end in yogurt. I learnt that the hard way. As hard as I tried to pronounce Icelandic words correctly, I just couldn’t and gave up, concluding that Icelanders are wizards that can hear and pronounce sounds that mere mortals cannot. Seriously, listen to them speak. It’s magical. And don’t even attempt to pronounce Icelandic words unless you want to be thoroughly made fun of. I deserved it.
If you want to annoy an Icelander, the best thing to do is walk down the street taking photos every 5 minutes, go into a restaurant, demand bottled water, order a plain hot dog and try to pronounce your order. If you’re like me though and would rather be friends with them, I’d avoid doing this.
But in all seriousness, Iceland is definitely the most amazing place I have ever visited and I would recommend it to anyone. The views are breathtaking, the people are friendly and there’s so much to do. So far I’ve been twice and I would return in a heartbeat.
**The photos in this post are not my own, they are from pixabay.com
***This post was not intended to offend anyone…please don’t hurt me 🙂