72 Year Old Farmer Visits Reykjavík For The 1st Time - The Reykjavik Grapevine

72 Year Old Farmer Visits Reykjavík For The 1st Time

Published July 3, 2017

Elías Þórsson
Photos by
Hörður Sveinsson

Yesterday, RÚV  reported on a momentous event in the life of Guðmundur Ármansson, a cattle farmer from Skriðdalur in east Iceland, as last Tuesday he visited the capital for the first time.

The 72 year old was for the first time in his life forced to travel to Reykjavík, as a cow nearly blinded him on one eye, by whacking its tail into it.

“It’s of course somewhat of a tragedy having to break the principle of never going to Reykjavík, but the decision wasn’t taken lightly,” Guðmundur told RÚV. “A cow hit its tail into my eye and caused heavy bleeding, it got better, but a couple of days ago I got dark circles under my eyes and my vision went blurry. So I had two options–neither good–to lose my sight or go to Reykjavík.”

Advice for the big city folks

Guðmundur claims to be pleased with not having been able to see too much on his trip—due to his eye—as he wasn’t too happy about what he saw.

“Mostly Reykjavík is just traffic, which is complete chaos. I can easily imagine that there are twice the number of cars there should be,” he said. “There were hardly any people walking around. Even though I didn’t see well, I should have seen some people out and about. Instead it were just cars with one to two passengers.”

Not going to travel

Despite having now made the trip to the big city, Guðmundur is not interested in becoming a globetrotter. He says that he has been forced to go to Akureyrir a couple of times in his life to see a doctor, but other than that the cows keep him busy.

“I have never needed to go anywhere. I’ve always been very self reliant and the cattle keep me busy,” he said. “It is quite remarkable that one cow’s tail can have such significant consequences for one’s life.” 

Wife not happy with man who returned

His wife Gréta Ósk Sigurðardóttir isn’t to happy with her husband after the trip and claims that the short visit to the megapolis has changed him.

“Here on the farm he lived a very sheltered life with the cows, so I felt like I was sending an innocent boy away from me,” she joked. “But it was like an entirely different man came back. He reminded me of a Hollywood actor, a careerist and seemed tough and basically too cocky. Sort of like a world citizen, he was just missing the sun glasses. But now he’s getting annoying and I beg of you not to make too big of a deal out of this as he is way too happy with himself.”

Kárahnjúkar dam, or damned

In 2004, The Grapevine put Guðmundur on the front page, as he threatened to go to Reykjavík should the Kárahnjúkar dam in east Iceland not be built.


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