Thursday is the first day of summer in Iceland and it is expected to “freeze together” with the last day of winter, which is a good sign according to Icelandic folklore Mbl.is reports. The Iceland Meteorological Office is forecasting that temperatures will remain below freezing on Wednesday night around the country, but will rise again by Thursday morning. This phenomenon over these particular days is referred to as freezing together and it is traditionally thought of as an indicator of a nice summer ahead.
The eleventh Yule Lad, Gáttaþefur (Door Sniffer) was admitted to hospital yesterday after slipping on a stretch of icy pavement in downtown Reykjavík. “I had just caught the scent of some Laufabrauð when I slipped and fell flat on my face,” Gáttaþefur told the Grapevine over the phone. “I was really lucky that a passerby stopped and drove me to the hospital but since I got here nothing has happened. Apparently my case is non-critical.” Gáttaþefur, who leaves his home in the mountains each December 22, is known for his trademark large nose and his unparalelled sense of smell which
American musician, John Grant, who recently relocated to Reykjavík hosted a winter solstice music special on BBC 6 called “Songs from a Dark Place”, reports RÚV. The show documented the rise of Iceland’s music scene and included tracks by Björk, The Sugarcubes, Sigur Rós, Ben Frost and contributions from Ólöf Arnalds, Ásgeir and Mammút and Fufanu, who were recently handpicked by Damon Albarn to support him at the Royal Albert Hall. Listen to the programme yourself on the BBC iPlayer Radio.
The Reykjavík Fire Department were called to Landspítalinn (the National University Hospital of Iceland) yesterday to deal with several roof leaks, reports RÚV. As the temperature rose and the ice on the roof began to melt, water started to pour through holes in the ceilings of the main building and the psych ward. Although water poured into a few offices and pooled in the hallways, little damage has been reported. The Icelandic healthcare system has been straining under the weight of the national doctor strike and austerity measures. To read a comprehensive overview of the state of the Icelandic healthcare system
As reported by RÚV, Mad Men’s Jon Hamm appeared on Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show, last Monday. While admitting that he had never been to Iceland, after Ferguson briefed him on former Mayor of Reykjavík, Jón Gnarr and his Best Party, Hamm replied: “This is why the list of why I like Iceland keeps growing and growing.” Hamm’s gestures at that point seemed to indicate he had a somewhat extensive list in mind.
If you spend your holidays at an Icelandic household, you will most likely see the living room decorated, or perhaps occupied, by green plastic in the shape of a pine tree. The artificial Christmas tree seems to be taking over. It is likely that you will be served smoked pork —hamborgarhryggur— on Christmas Eve, and you will almost unavoidably be offered smoked lamb or mutton —hangikjöt— on Christmas day. This is according to a recent poll, conducted by MMR. Most likely to deviate in any of the above are supporters of the Pirate Party, and the poll’s highest wage group.
Þórhildur Sunna Sævarsdóttir, Chair of the Women’s Association for Peace and Culture (MFÍK), says it is urgent to thoroughly investigate whether Iceland in any way supported the CIA’s transportation of prisoners for torture. If that turns out to be the case, Icelanders are accomplices to war crimes. “These crimes do not become void. Being an accomplice to torture is a war crime,” she stated, interviewed by Stöð 2 this Saturday. Iceland’s involvement On December 12, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson announced that the Foreign Ministry had commenced an investigation into any potential “abuse” of Icelandic facilities related to the CIA’s