Parking like you just don’t care. Posted by on Aug 1, 2012 in Icelandic culture, Icelandic customs

It’s again that time of the year when Iceland has relatively little snow. This ought to mean that certain things would not be very hard to accomplish, parking for example. However, there are always those to whom markings on the ground are but estimates that can either be ignored if necessary or used to one’s advantage. It’s not uncommon to see cars parked exactly between two spaces, I suppose to avoid getting your car accidentally scratched by other cars, but considering this is Iceland I fail to see how it would ever work. After all, everybody else is an Icelander too and just as carefree when it comes to parking. Chances are that someone’s just going to park right next to your car anyway*.

This phenomena is called “vel lagt lagt” on Flick My Life, a hilarious page where Icelanders can submit whatever amusing things they spot on- or offline. It’s also a fun way of brushing up your language skills to go browse it and see how many jokes per page you can understand. Vel lagt lagt translates loosely as “well parked parking” and indeed, I would not be able to find a more fitting term for these entries if I tried!

So without further ado, here are some stellar examples of what I’m talking about. They’re not particularly rare either. Grab your camera and head out to the nearest parking lot, you’ll have plenty to photograph. However, before you do it might be a good moment to try to see how many road rage lines you can still remember from the earlier post. Just in case. You never know when something like “Lærðu að leggja!” comes in handy.

In my homecountry someone parked like this and it made the headlines in the local yellow papers. I am not kidding**. In Iceland it can warrant a snide comment from a passer-by at best.

There just wasn’t enough room on the right side. Or the left.

There are more ways than one to hog two spots!

…you know what, I’m not going to even try to come up with something witty here. And yes, it is parked. Outside of Hagkaup*** no less.


*No really, with some people you have to wonder if they actually even know why there are lines painted on the ground at parking lots.

**It may have been a slow news day though. I can’t say for sure but I have a hunch about it.

***Hagkaup is a local supermarket chain.

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About the Author: hulda

Hi, I'm Hulda, originally Finnish but now living in the suburbs of Reykjavík. I'm here to help you in any way I can if you're considering learning Icelandic. Nice to meet you!


  1. Bill:

    When I was studying in Iceland back in the 1980’s, a classmate of mine told me: “Icelanders don’t park their cars … they ABANDON them!” (But at least they don’t drive like the Swedes)!

    • hulda:

      @Bill Hahah that sounds quite fitting! Icelanders haven’t changed much since then I suppose. But what’s wrong with the Swedish way of driving? I never, ever had a problem there and in Iceland the traffic almost makes me cry every time I’m in it, even if it’s someone else doing the driving than me. Actually, especially when it’s someone else that’s driving.