From Iceland — Special Souvenirs

Special Souvenirs

Published August 24, 2007

Special Souvenirs

I have always maintained that being a black sheep is not at all as unbearable as people claim. It even appears to be coming into fashion these days, you know, this sense of being special and unlike others… I wouldn’t envy salespeople involved in the hospitality industry when such an individual arrives in their country. His determination to bring home an unusual, unconventional piece of that land knows no borders so he is unlikely to stroll the main shopping destinations with a tourist booklet stuck with advertisement as an ultimate guide. Her rush for something special will bring her anywhere from antique stores to flea markets, from boutiques to kiosks… You know, this seeking mind always on the run…

You can be such one in Reykjavík and no one will call you a freak: the city is known and appreciated for its air of liberalism. If you are the one, your place is then Skólavörðurstígur running up to Hallgrímskirkja with all its cute art galleries and little boutiques. Those in search of some hot specialty will definitely appreciate the Reykjavík prison, likely to be mixed with a medieval castle, or the oldest bakery in Reykjavík situated just moments away from the street. As for those little memories known as souvenirs in the English language, it’s only your imagination and/or the bank account balance that may limit your choice. A cute suggestion for those in love with art and painting may be rubber stamps with jólasveinar – Icelandic Santa Clauses – on them. Christmas is much closer than many think, and such a gift would suit all those who still remain children both in terms of age and soul.

Or why wouldn’t you try bringing home a piece of Icelandic photography? Sometimes it seems that Icelanders are born with a camera in hands, and I have personally observed countless photographers wandering around 101 in search for curious shots during the summer. It’s easy to be a photo artist in this country even with compact camera and limited photography skills, since the Mother Nature itself frequently offers you perfect angles. Those photo books that you find in bookstores, or independent photos available on display in Skólavörðurstígur galleries, capture imagination instantly and can be yet another idea for a cute souvenir or even a wedding present.

Others with relatively unlimited budget and an eye for expensive trinkets can be inspired by jewellery with engraved runic letters on them. People still believe in the magic power of Icelandic runes, and it can be easy to convince everyone that this little engraved ring you never part with has brought your business success to you. Why do it? Just for fun, huh?

Being a black sheep is not the worst thing one can undergo in his or her life, indeed. Pretending to be the one is fun and can do your creativity skills a good service. Just keep your eyes wide open, and remember that Reykjavík is the city where you can be special – and be appreciated.

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