Tag Archives: tourism

The Problem With Cairns

In Iceland, the major architectural monuments from the past are also way-finding cairns of stones passing across inhospitable terrain. They were essential for commerce and the maintaining of a low technology culture in a harsh environment. They are now essential links to the past, as important to Icelanders as, say, the pyramids in Egypt or the Strasbourg Cathedral in France. In other words, they led somewhere, and still lead somewhere important, even as people continue to try to read them.

Aimlessness at Þingvellirvatn

Unfortunately, many contemporary visitors to Iceland, being humans and liking to make their own presence into lasting magical gestures, a signature of their kind, obscure the landscapes with their mark-making. Please don’t. It’s ugly and aimless. They don’t let you do it in Paris. Respect goes a long way towards creating beauty.

Of Humans and Power

Most humans, unfamiliar with the Earth, try to get as close to her power as possible.

Dettifoss

They will find each other, but will be powerless. Iceland is currently financing itself on this illusion, based on a thousand-year-old tradition of hospitality. The land’s hospitality reveals itself when you turn away and walk for, oh, ten minutes into the earth.

Fossunderlendiheiði

There are also ancient traditions of Icelanders reading this mixed landscape of water, volcanoes and wind. Keeping the tradition alive has never been so important or, under the business, so difficult.

Whispering Sweet Nothings in a Farm Troll’s Ear

This troll is marked on no map, yet so many travellers have found it that access has been blocked — an unusual thing for Iceland, but necessary. I leave it for you to find it yourself. Note the old house site to the troll’s left. Yeah, on the grassy slope, and at its base. People used to live closer to trolls than they do now.

Still, take a look in the troll’s ear to the right above, and then to the goofs chatting in there, as if they were on the set of a silent movie.How can you block access to what doesn’t belong to you in the first place? How can you stop a conversation that has no sound? You can’t, but you can give it space.

Island Life

This is Iceland. It’s not so friendly to human life, really, but it is sold to tourists, who want “real experience.”


The image below, made out of the experience above, is “art” in Reykjavik. It is sold to tourists, who want to be warmly received (and want to stay warm in a place not so friendly to human life.)

That’s the art of Iceland: remaining hospitable. It is a kind of mercy. Art and beauty are reduced to a line of thought here, in a language of “eye” and “body” but not so much of mind, and that line is reduced to gentle gestures, lest the bodies of visitors scare.The language of mind (below) might just scare them off.

I’d love to see Iceland market it. Such beauty lies there.

Why aren’t shipping containers, repurposed as homes, sold in souvenir shops in Reykjavik? I think it’s because Icelanders want to give people the experience they came for. They’re generous like that.

Not that there are polar bears in Iceland, but what the heck. The practice speaks to a tremendous self confidence, and the secrecy of all islanders: everyone is the island.

All who come remain within the gesture of arrival, until they choose to either leave or stay. Everyone gets to decide for themselves. No one will help you… unless you get lost. Then you will be brought back and warmed up, and will be once again within the gesture of the island itself. It’s the same if you try to leave. You might find  yourself leaving and staying all at the same time.

The island is the one doing the speaking here. Humans are almost speechless in its face.

The Icelanders’ Revenge

Soooooo, the Danes mine your mountains for sulfur, to make matches, to light their cigars, do they, and pay you in tiny twists of tobacco, for way too long, do they? No problem.Just sell it back to their great grandchildren as nature at it’s purest. Canada and its mining wastelands could learn from this trick! As the old Icelandic saying goes, “everything is hay.” More on that tomorrow!

It’s Time for a New National Park in Fjaðrárgljúfur

A massive glacial outwash canyon, of unparalleled accessibility, purity and mystery, rising above a lava field that is a graveyard on and memorial to Iceland’s past, should be a national park, but not in the new Iceland. In the new Iceland, it is for sale, to be developed as a tourism site, at a time in which Iceland has come to the bearable limit of mass tourism. A national park would have the power to develop this land on a manageable scale. It is irreplaceable, and very vulnerable.

http://icelandreview.com/news/2017/06/20/fjadrargljufur-canyon-still-sale