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Frábært! september 19, 2009

Posted by herraheri in Herra the Heri.
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Yeah, Iceland is kind of remote. But still, people live there – and where the human race settles down, alcohol won’t be missing. Manuscripts reveal: 15th-century-Icelanders fancied beer – with pretty well-known, somehow modern consequences:

Thinking of this tradition, it’s hard to understand why there had been a 74-year long prohibition of beer (yeah, just of beer) in the 20th century which ended not longer than 20 years ago! The reasoning indeed was crude: Because beer is cheap, people would get alcoholics immediately when it was legal. But Icelanders were too smart for prohibition: Barkeepers started to mix vodka with light beer to create some kind of „normal“ beer. The heads of state appraised the situation right and legalized beer on March 1st, 1989. Since then, this day is celebrated every year as bjórdagurinn, the „beerday“. May well be that being in Reykjavík on that day, you feel like in a 15th century manuscript.

Auglýsingar

Fragments of a thousand thoughts september 14, 2009

Posted by herraheri in Iceland.
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Salut!

Time goes by quite quickly, and stuff just keeps happening. High time to find some rest, sort the multi-coloured fragments, pick out the sparkling ones and somehow knit a nice little story out of them. But be careful: Long text. Pictures below!

Certain things go along with my stay here and sweeten my time. Filtered coffee. Sulphur. Lamb, oh yeah. And wet clothes, of course. On Laugavegur I had plenty of them, and they’ve been with me also on the one-week field-trip throughout southern Iceland. We were around 50 Earth Science students from all over the ea..no, in fact half of us are German. Despite some refreshing exceptions, like people from New Zealand, Chile, Australia, Norway and Finland, it was one big German-speaker meeting. I was hoping for something different. Nevertheless, there are a bunch of nice people amongst them, and also a bunch of nice English accents. The first one to mention is without a doubt the accent of Ármann, our leading teacher. He is a cigarillo-smoking original, living the accent many of us would die to have. In his worrrld, a valley becomes a volley, volcanic ash is in fact volcanic ass and the tertiary is a real tortury.

During the first day of the field trip, the two teachers tried to keep up the illusion that we were o na „geological“ field trip. On the second day then, things changed: we did a little boat tour on a glacial lake to take some photos and taste some glacial ice. On day three we watched a movie about the Laki Eruption 1783 which made us pretty clear that we will all die soon, killed by either volcanic ass, lava flows, toxic gases or by hunger (all our cattle will be dead and uneatable because of the toxic gases). If it won’t happen today, it will most propably be tomorrow. Inspired by this scientific movie, we drove three hours to Laki and took a group foto there. After that, we watched another craterthen our teachers became coffee-thirrrsty and we drove back. But the touristic climax was reached just on the last day. On our way to the Geysir Tourist Shop, which was the day’s highlight, we did several photo stops and checked out the regions cafeterias. But I won’t complain. We saw Southern Iceland, had a good time in the hot pots in Landmannalaugar, plus an excellent lamb barbecue. Given this, yelling for more geological facts is maybe a bit bizarre.

The day after the excursion, the „real“ classes started. Which means first of all a week of partying with the all in all 300 exchange students. The beer was cheaper than in Germany; once more, the advantages of the financial crisis became crystal clear.

Another thing which accompanies my daily life here are the bells of Hallgrimskirkja, the biggest church in Reykjavík. My bed is located say 100m away from these bells. They ring every quarter hour for ca. 5 minutes, which makes an alarm clock practically unnecessary. Well, at least I can watch the church while showering! My room not only features a big alarm clock, but also two beds and a way to small door, which my head will probably know very well after the year here. Our Landady is pretty cool, so are my flatmates. 6 girls and one guy, all the girls – you may guess – German; the guy is a Norvegian. All in all, Lokastigur 24a seems to be a good place to stay, nevermind bells, doors and a Speedy Gonzalez-Internet-Connection which makes me long for the good old 56k-times.

I got used to two more things last week: Brennevín and exotic food. These were important factors during my 5-day-stay in Greenland. I was there with a New Zealandic girl who had to leave Iceland for a couple of days due to visa reasons no one quite understood, and a guy from Switzerland. We had a really splendid time, including camping, amazing geology, landscapes, icebergs, schnapps, an international airport in a 128-souls-town, „greenlandic“ beer named Namminersornermi Nalliutorsiorneq (made out of and brewed by seals) to fuck up the stupid tourists hanging out there with too much money, a cop living la vida loca in the same international airport (I guess he has a really hard job there) and, of course: whale and seal blubber, which is, in fact, the fat of these fancy animals cut into cubes. Sounds disgusting? It is. But it can get worse: Dried whale is really a manifested nightmare, sticking between your teeth. I felt that this poor whale was bleeding to death once again in my mouth, and I had to suffer with it. Won’t do it again. Next time: Icelandic Horse!

(The last 5 pics ar from Landmannalaugar and Tourigeysir, the fucking amazing rest is Greenland.)