Icelandic Language Blog

Summer’s here, run! Posted by on Apr 30, 2014 in Icelandic culture, Icelandic customs


Image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie Refuge and Maks Karochkin on

My, we’ve had a wild time in the news section since last week! Summer began as stated in the Old Nordic calendar and the weather took a hint: we’ve had amazingly warm, sunny days for a whole week now and pretty much everyone and everything has caught a severe case of spring fever. In other words everything’s active to the max and sometimes… you wish it wasn’t so.

The lake Mývatn (= midge lake) is currently seeing a whole new generation of… dun dun duuunnnn… midges. To be sure they’re always a problem in that area as the name of the lake might suggest but this time they actually made the news.


Ótrúlegt myndskeið frá Mývatni: Þá varð allt svart (= Unbelievable video from Mývatn: Then everything turned black)(source)

„Þarna kemur skýið, sérðu, það berst til okkar. Ég er svo aldeilis hissa. Þetta er óhugnanlegt,“ segir Sverrir Karlsson um borð í litlum báti í ótrúlegu myndskeiði sem var tekið upp á Mývatni. Þar lentu hjónin Sverrir Karlsson og Guðný Jónsdóttir inni í miðju risastóru mýflugnaskýi. Sverrir bað konu sína að hylja höfuð sitt og setti hún fötu yfir það til að verjast ágengum flugunum.

“There the cloud’s coming, see, it’s moving our way. I’m just so surprised. That’s creepy,” says Sverrir Karlsson on board of a small boat in this unbelievable video that was taken on the lake Mývatn. The couple, Sverrir Karlsson and Guðný Jónsdóttir, ended up in the middle of a gigantic cloud of midges. Sverrir asked his wife to cover her head so she put a bucket over it to avoid the worst fly invasion.”

Dare to see what they had to face? You can find the video here but beware, it truly is disgusting. In fact I’m doing a small ick-dance here as I think of it!

The dialog is all in Icelandic and alas there’s no text but I’m sure you’ll catch the gist of it. Most of what the couple is saying is “what is that, have you ever seen the like, put something over your head, my eyes are full of…” and so on.


Image by Francisco Diez on

Iceland’s done it before.

On international news! The UK still insists on Iceland’s capability of terrorism but unlike the last time they’ve now escalated the threat of Iceland to that of a nuclear attack (source). Icelanders, meanwhile, would rather call something like this Móðuharðinðin, Mist Hardships. More about this hopefully one-time-only phenomena can be read here.


The first in the world! In… er…

Iceland has recently made it to #1 for the tenth year running, but the reason is perhaps nothing worth celebrating for – apparently Iceland is the leading nation in confirmed cases of chlamydia. (source)

The statistics are damning but may of course also be… statistics. While they’re most likely generally true, without a few important definitions they don’t actually tell you the whole truth behind the matter. Most definitely there is a problem but it bears remembering that the numbers are of found and confirmed cases. Iceland, having free healthcare easily available for everyone, likely just catches a larger percentage than many other countries. The positive message hidden in these otherwise negative statistics is that the sooner the patients get diagnosed the better, especially in case of female patients who, if left untreated, would likely have trouble conceiving later on.


Image by Helgi Halldórsson on

A warning to travelers.

Here‘s a piece of definitely bad news though. The workers at Icelandair are going on strike, starting on the 9th of May. If you’re planning to fly to Iceland I suggest keeping an eye on how the negotiations go so that your trip doesn’t accidentally stretch into a whole month’s vacation.


Gutti came home.

To end this post in a positive note, here’s something that had Iceland or at least the Páll Óskar fandom on its toes for a couple of days: the disappearance of Páll’s friend and flatmate Gutti. Notices of his disappearance went around social media like wildfire but the story had a happy ending: he was found in a shed in good condition, ate heartily and went to have a shower (which Páll confirmed really did happen, according to him Gutti loves to do it). You can see a photo of them embracing each other here.


Photos used to illustrate this entry: Scream by Maks Karochkin, Swarm of midges… by Tom Koerner/USFWS, Laki Volcano by Francisco Diez and Fly safely… by Helgi Halldórsson.


hulda078Hulda recommends music

In early celebration of the oncoming Eurovision song contest I’d like to take you back in time with me to some interesting Icelandic entries to the song contest from along the years.

Never Forget: Gréta Salóme and Jónsi, 2012 (here). Beautiful!
Tell Me: Águst & Telma, 2000 (here). There’s a song type we call “Eurovision-pop” and this is an excellent example of that – in good and in bad.
Eitt lag enn: Stjórnin, 1990 (here). I have no idea why this one didn’t win to be honest – what’s not to like? 😀

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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!