Oldest Icelander Turns 108! - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Oldest Icelander Turns 108!

Published May 26, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
Ismus

The oldest living Icelander turned 108 yesterday and believes the key to a long life is being cheerful and easy-going, reports RÚV

Guðríður Guðbrandsdóttir became one of four other Icelanders – all women – to have reached 108.

Guðríður was born in Dalasýsla in 1906 and told Vísir that the greatest social change she had lived through was the introduction of electricity into homes and the worst part of growing old was seeing her friends and 10 siblings pass away. She especially mourned the loss of her three children. 

Reflecting on her past Guðríður said she in particular remembered the winter of 1917-1918, the coldest in Iceland’s recorded history with temperatures dropping to -38°C. 

“I was living in Spágilsstaðir in Laxárdal and all the water froze,” Guðríður said. “You could still get some water from a pump in the meadow but the water dripped slowly. We had to carry snow into the barn to give the animals something to drink.” 

Guðríður loved to knit and crochet but had to give it up when her sight started to give way. Now she enjoys audiobooks, loves literature and can recite all 84 verses of the Gilsbakkaþula from memory. 

Interestingly, Guðríður shares a birthday with the oldest living American who turned 115 years yesterday. 


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