I’m from London and recently came to Iceland for the first time. Me and my boyfriend stayed in an Airbnb (I know, I know) on Grettisgata. I never met the host – there was a key safe on the door – although they seemed nice in their texts. I had a lovely time walking around the streets, and tasting puffin (but not whale!), and went on the Golden Circle, which was spectacular (and more expensive than I expected, thanks a lot Brexit!). But I have to say, I’d hoped to meet more Icelandic people. Most of the people we saw were holiday-makers like us. By the end of the holiday, I found myself thinking, are Icelanders themselves the Hidden Folk?
So I wondered if you could tell me – where are all the locals hiding??
Iceland has a population of 340,000 people spread over the entire island and receives over 2 million tourists a year (and counting), who spend a lot of time in the downtown Reykjavík area. How likely is it you’ll be surrounded by tourists? Do the math.
The main reason you haven’t met any locals is, I hate to break it to you, because they’re avoiding you. Because, as a group, you are annoying and everywhere. Does a local want to spend their weekend queuing behind a bunch of selfie-obsessed tourists at the Golden Circle? Or buying souvenirs at a puffin shop? No. In the same way you don’t spend your weekend on the London Eye.
So in short, the locals are hiding anywhere you are not.
—The Reykjavík Grapevine