Better weight than wisdom a traveller cannot carry. Thank you to the Vikings for the reminder that experiential learning taken out of the stale confines of a classroom often reigns supreme.
Before you ignite a passionate affair with the Icelandic Capital of Cool, there are some things to take note of to maximize your Reykjavik experience.
1) Drink the tap water.
Don’t bother with bottled water when some of the most pristine and freshest water supply can be found flowing through your faucet — gratis. And besides, as many Icelanders will tell you, the water that you’re drinking in the bottles is straight up tap water and if you buy bottled water, you’ll be falling victim to corporate marketing ploys and setting yourself up to be the brunt of jokes from your Icelandic friends. The quality of tap water in Iceland is exceptional due to a wealth of fresh water rivers that stream down from the mountains and glaciers. The only thing that might instill a few drops of doubt is the initial smell and look of the water — because it’s so pure, you may smell and see traces of sulfur. But rest assured, it’s completely safe and very refreshing.
2) Adopt the beloved local motto of Það reddast…sooner rather than later.
In general, Icelanders have a certain fluidity in their idea of time, ranking punctuality not very high on their priority list and enjoying a cool nonchalance towards most situations in life. A phrase that captures this philosophy VERY well is one of their most common phrases: Það reddast, which roughly translates to “It’ll all work out in the end!” or “It’ll fix itself!” But an Icelandic friend also told me that it literally translates to “You’ll be saved before it’s too late!” — and that says it all! Learn this phrase and the essence behind it, and you’ll have a much smoother adventure through the country and a deeper appreciation for the people.