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Boat Magazine – Issue 6


Reykjavík (Iceland)

Iceland, the one in my imagination, is a place drenched in mystery and folklore. It’s a place of old-fashioned storytelling where reality and myth need no distinction and where poetry lives on the tips of tongues. In my mind, Iceland is possessed by art and music like a feverish, all-consuming addiction.

The Iceland of its own literature is hard and alarming like the landscape – twisted and reformed by volcanoes, unrelenting weather and the ferocious sea that surrounds it. The sea – the island’s blessing and curse – is never separate from Iceland and its people – their history, achievement, downfall, and certainly not their future.

The music that leaks out has become Iceland’s soundtrack; dramatic and otherworldly, it describes the lava fields upholstered in moss so green it glows, the horses unchanged for a thousand years, the thin light that hangs just above the island, the darkness, the people and their city: Reykjavík.

Reykjavík sits on the edge of the island, its toes in the sea, and is home to two thirds of the population (200,000 of the 320,000 total). When we landed I wondered how many of my preconceived ideas I would bring home intact. All of them and none of them is the answer.

In Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital city, I found every bit of strangeness I’d expected, more stubbornness, less of the supernatural, more history but with less attachment to it, an even more stunning landscape than I’d dreamed earning much less reverence from the people than I’d predicted. If you’ve been, you probably know what I mean; Iceland is not what you expect, but it is every bit as wonderful.

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