5 cool facts about Iceland
Out in the sea, a bit south west of Reykjavik, lies the small island of Eldey. Today a nature reserve and a shelter for many birds. Sounds good, but this little islands holds a rather sad piece of history. The last great auk was eradicated on this very little island, in July 3, 1944!
Like the penguins, the bird was a fantastic swimmer while on land it was vulnerable as it could not fly. Thus it was easy to catch. The number of great auks fell drastically in a short period of time, and finally there were only two of them left on this small island southwest of the Reykjanes peninsula. As the last two were captured and killed, the last hope was crushed as well – the egg.
Far out at sea (left) you find Eldey, the island where the last great auk was captured and killed.
Iceland has a population of over 300,000 and most people can follow their family roots far back. Thus, most people are in some way related. In order to ensure the gene pool, an app has been developed for the island’s inhabitants where they can check if the person in front of them indeed is (genetically) Mr or Mrs Right. The app is called Íslendigabók and is only for Icelanders.
In order to ensure the gene pool, an app has been developed for the island’s inhabitants where they can check if the person in front of them indeed is (genetically) Mr or Mrs Right.
Icelanders love their liquorice, but not the Läckerol kind. Here it’s the combination of chocolate and liquorice. It tastes pretty good too. Bring some for your trip around the Ring Road.
Between two tectonic plates
The island is known for its volcanoes and ash clouds, and the reason for this volcanic activity is that the island is located on the gap between two tectonic plates: the North American and the European. These two plates are slowly moving apart. No wonder it shakes and rattles and bursts lava from time to time.
Diving between these two plates has become an attraction in itself in Iceland. Whether you dive or snorkel, you can stretch for the two sides in crystal clear water with a visibility of hundred meters at Silfra.
For those who do not like the cold wet element, you can run between the two plates at Midline, on the Reykjanes peninsula. On a good day, it’s really nice here.
No wonder it shakes and rattles and bursts lava from time to time.
Iceland has become a favorite place for filming movies and series. Parts of Game of Thrones are filmed in several places in Iceland, and you may remember the opening scene in Prometheus, where a powerful pale guy stands by the impressive Dettifoss? In the James Bond film Die another day the entire lagoon Jökulsarlón was frozen for a car race among the ice blocks, and Matt Damon and Matthew McConaughey are fighting in their spacesuits at Svinefallsjökull in Interstellar.