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Alda Sigmundsdóttir

Zertifizierter Reiseblogger

Englisch
I’m Alda, an Icelandic-North American hybrid and the author of several books about Iceland, including the 'Little Books' series that many Iceland-aficionados know and love. I love to delve below the surface of things and to give people insight into Iceland's culture and its people. I have written about the Icelandic national character, the harsh lives of the Icelanders in the old days, the Icelandic language and how it reflects and is reflected in Icelandic culture, and Iceland's folk legends and how and where they originated. My latest book is called The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland, and it is chock-full of insights and tips to help all those who wish to tour Iceland safely, responsibly and in harmony with the locals. On this site I hope to share some tips and insights to help you gain a better understanding of the Icelanders, and the best practices for touring Iceland.
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Happy happy Cream Puff Day!

Today is bolludagur (Cream Puff Day) here in Iceland, during which we gorge ourselves with - what else - cream puffs. It is followed in rapid succession by sprengidagur (Eat Salted Lamb Until You Burst Day) and öskudagur (Ash Wednesday). This happy trio marks the beginning of Lent each year. Bolludagur comes first, on Monday. On this day children are supposed to sneak into their parents’ room before they get out of bed in the morning and spank them on the bottom with colourful wands specifically made for that purpose. The number of spanks they manage to get in determines the number of bollur 

It's off to the West Fjords

Well as the Germans say, "tomorrow it is so far" - meaning it the time has come for Yours Truly to take off on a road trip to the wonderful West Fjords to drop off books and generally have a marvellous time.  If you have not yet explored the West Fjords you are missing out on an incredible experience. They are the most sparsely populated area in Iceland (the population has drifted southward for various reasons, mostly economic - more on that later, perhaps) and also the area with the most imposing mountains and dramatic landscapes. Geologically they are also the oldest part of the country. 

A wee Advent story about some traditions and a tree

As some of you may be aware, the Christmas season is a pretty big deal here in Iceland. Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) is definitely one of the most magical times of year here, fully qualified to rival the season of the midnight sun. It's the time when coloured lights decorate just about every window, and practically every other tree is wrapped in them. There are concerts everywhere, almost everyone goes to at least one Christmas buffet (usually with their workplace), and families uphold their Yule traditions, be it making laufabrauð, or baking gingerbread cookies, or choppin

The Icelanders and their Big Love of books

This is the time of year when we Icelanders experience the so-called jólabókaflóð, or “Christmas book flood”. Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world and the bulk of book sales happens at this time of year, with the publishing industry receiving something like 80 percent of its annual revenues in the approximately two months leading up to Christmas. The main reason for this deluge is the longstanding tradition in Iceland of giving books as Christmas presents - each and every Icelander typically receives at least one book under the tree each year. After open

3 great reasons for visiting beautiful Hofsós (besides the fact that it's beautiful)

Hofsós, located on the banks of Skagafjörður fjord in north Iceland, is a historic trading port overlooking the stunning island of Drangey, which rises almost vertical out of the sea in the distance.  It’s a friendly little village, that comes alive in the summer with tourists, hikers and seasonal residents. Personally I think the view is reason enough to visit, but if you prefer something more hands-on, here are three more. The Icelandic Emigration Centre (Vesturfarasetrið) This wonderful museum details the mass emigration of Icelanders to North America in the late 1800s. As many readers

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Safnasafnið: a jewel of an art museum in North Iceland

Just past Akureyri, heading north, travellers tend to do a double take on seeing a very tall figure of a man by the side of the road. And I mean VERY tall. This is the "museum curator" - the representative figure at Safnasafnið, the Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum, which I think I can safely say is my favourite museum in Iceland.   Why is it my favourite? Well, for one thing it is exquisitely beautiful. Bright and airy, with big windows and plenty of natural light. Some of those windows serve as “art” in and of themselves, in that right outside there is a beautiful, slightly wi

A culinary revelation in a most surprising location

I have had some pretty fantastic meals in Iceland. There are many excellent restaurants here, and of course some of the ingredients you get in Iceland are remarkable for their quality and freshness - in particular the fish and the lamb. Yet the restaurant at Hótel Varmahlíð had not been on my radar as one of the best restaurants in Iceland until we dined there on the last night of our ring road trip ... and were completely awed by the experience. We had spent the day on a boat cruise on Skagafjörður fjord, so by the time we got to the hotel we were pretty hungry. Consequently, on inspecting t

Trippin’ in East Iceland

We just spent the last two days in East Iceland - an area I had never visited before, but had wanted to check out for a very long time. I wasn’t disappointed. Of course two days is not very long to get a feel for a whole region, but here are four sights or places in East Iceland that really made a deep impression on me in the brief time I was there. ÖXI Driving north from Höfn to Egilsstaðir, just past Djúpivogur we came to a fork in the road, with one sign pointing to Egilsstaðir, and another sign right near it also pointing to Egilsstaðir, but indicating a considerably longer distance. Aft

Exquisite South Iceland

So, on leaving Þakgil we drove due east, but not before heading briefly into Vík again to take care of some business. And of course to snap some more photos with gorgeous scenery in the background. South Iceland is so exquisitely beautiful. I was reminded of this as we came upon one amazing sight after another ...   ... Before finally arriving at our next night stop, this time at the farm Brunnhóll.  We had been told that there were some really good hiking routes in the area that were slightly off the beaten track. Indeed, we had not been misinformed. Practically across the road fr

Þakgil: a beautiful hidden gem in south Iceland

We're on the road again, this time bringing you tips for things to see and places to stay on the Ring Road. We're travelling counter-clockwise, starting in Vík, and ending in Varmahlíð. The first night of our ring road tour we were scheduled to stay at a place called Þakgil (pronounced “thak-gil”), near Vík, on the southern coast. We knew very little about it, except had been told that it was well sheltered from the wind. This was a HUGE plus, since we left Reykjavík in a storm and weren’t particularly relishing having this be our weather for the rest of the day (or week). Having left Reykja

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