Published September 7, 2007
Every summer, the city of Reykjavík comes alive when tourists flood the streets, getting lost along Laugavegur and suffering from insomnia from the midnight sun. In the coming weeks this will change. Tourism slows down, the days gets shorter and city gets more depressing. This time of year, we bid our farewells to tourists; at least the ones who make it out alive.
Every summer, tourists run into serious problems when travelling in Iceland. They get lost in the highlands, are stuck in the rivers, or have accidents on the narrow gravel roads. Some of them lose their lives.
In the media, the discussion is usually concentrated on one of three things. A) The heroic efforts of search and rescue workers. B) The cost of search and rescue operations. C) The tourists who travel to Iceland, unprepared for the harsh conditions. Like little Dorothy, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.
These are all topics worthy of discussion. But perhaps we should take a moment to consider our own responsibility when it comes to marketing Iceland as the uncharted wilderness, waiting for brave explorers to overcome the forces of nature. Maybe we should take a moment to consider why we still encourage tourists to travel on roads that would hardly have been considered acceptable in the days of the Roman Empire. Perhaps we should bridge some of these rivers, perhaps we should make some of these pearls more accessible. Perhaps we should take a more active role in educating tourists on what the hell they are getting themselves into. Maybe, just maybe, we have a part to play in this also.
This issue, we tackle the highlands. Róbert Haraldsson completes his trip to Kjölur; Steinunn Jakobsdóttir examines the dangers of travelling in the highlands. We also start preparations for the Iceland Airwaves. Yes, its good times all around.