Status: Iceland

Status 7/15

New post below.

I’m back from the arctic circle! Here’s a list of what’s cool and less cool about Iceland, from least to coolest:

#945: It’s literally very cool.

#890: Viking Ölgerd, AKA $7-a-bottle Bud Light Lime. There are actually a couple of decent craft breweries in Iceland, but most bars only carry the two big brands (Viking and Einstok) even though they cost the same but taste like watered-down disappointment.

#402: Rotten shark as a gourmet delicacy. To be fair, that’s probably a prank played on tourists and not actually something that Icelanders have been eating for centuries.

#3: Galloping along a picturesque black pebble beach on a sturdy Icelandic horse.

#2: A geothermal hot spring, next to a cool alpine lake, INSIDE A VOLCANO.

#1: Two decades ago, Iceland’s soccer team ranked 131st in the world. This makes sense for a country of merely 320,000 people with a climate that discourages poking one’s nose outdoors, let alone playing soccer, for 8 months a year. Then, a miracle happened. Someone in Iceland read a blog post explaining why a soccer team’s level doesn’t depend on it’s population and decided to give it a shot. A few small tweaks later, Iceland is ranked in the top 30 and sending mighty England Brexiting in shame from the European championship.

Source: The Telegraph

Since my own home country plays in blue but can’t sniff a major tournament, immediately upon landing in Reykjavik I looked for an Iceland national team jersey. The first store was sold out. So was the second one. The third one said that they’ll get a delivery on Tuesday morning. 11 am on Tuesday, they said that the delivery came early and people who camped outside the store bought all the jerseys within an hour. Iceland doesn’t have a lot of sports stores, in two weeks on the island I have probably visited most of them. None had a jersey for me, at any price.

And this got me thinking of one the humanity’s most confounding insanities: the futile struggle against the laws of prices.





6 thoughts on “Status: Iceland

    1. I don’t really keep a list, I come up with them off the cuff when I notice the old one and think it’s boring. But I like your suggestion, and I haven’t thought of it myself.


    1. I took that picture more than a decade ago during a dance party in a nuclear physics research center. We got drunk and went exploring the particle accelerator. I had an interesting childhood.


  1. Hey, Einstok White Ale is great–I drink it here in the States, and I have never been Iceland and have no affiliation with it. Very light, to be sure, but beautiful.


    1. To be fair, I’m spoiled by the American craft beer revolution. I live in NYC within walking distance of three (!) craft breweries, and the grocery store by my house offers around 50 beer brands (including Einstok) on a given day. This allows American brewers to craft targeted niche products, and it allows me to find the ones that perfectly fit my tastes. If I was making a single wheat ale for an entire country, I would make it broadly appealing but not particularly interesting, like Einstok. And obviously, personal tastes are personal etc.

      With that said, Iceland’s alcohol policy is still utterly ridiculous. Grocery stores carry some abomination diluted to 2% to satisfy a century old regulation, the only chain selling bottles of anything above that is government-run, and a bottle of Einstok in Reykjavik costs almost as much as a six-pack of Einstok in Manhattan.


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