september edition | east workcamp | 2015
a worldwide friends magazine
Melting pot in Iceland North-East Iceland, latitude 64.8350Â°, in the middle of fjords, walking on dry lava somewhere between the Eurasian and the American plakes. This is how ten people from all corners of the world chose to share their lives for ten days to discover one another as to discover all together the infinite mysteries of Iceland. The experience takes place in Stodvafjordur, a small village surrounded by the ocean. This former richest village of Iceland is now this surrealistic lost village within the immensity of pristine nature, animed by 300 people. Golden green, always craddled with the melody of waves, sinuous, colourful and filled with artcraft and galleries, this shining point of life proudly welcomes its visitors with the biggest stone museum of Europe, an artistic center, a tourist information point and above all, the warm smiles and greetings of its inhabitants. In the middle of the village, near the swimming pool is a three-floor building, formerly a bank gone bankrupt. Between artistic squatt, cosy apartment and mecanic repair, this charming hybrid place was chosen by the association WorldwideFriends to host volunteers for an amazing intercultural experience. Two Japanese students (one in Philosophy and the other in Languages), one South Korean girl living in Dublin, two Bask students (Physiotherapy and Psychology) and a Catalan student in Economy, two Italians, one working to help the refugees, the other in photo reportages, a Dutch girl expert in communication &
media, and one French girl dedicated to cultural mediation and
art. As different as our cultures and ways of life can be, we found many similarities from the first day on that brought us closer. All very curious and full of enthousiasm, we aspire to learn from our cultures and from each other, to enjoy every single moment with laugh and lightness and to experience as many new and crazy things as our bodies can bear. And one common factor attracted us here: understand and inmortalize from every angle the land and its inhabitants hosting us for ten days. Enlivened by the will to share, we not only provide you our researches and interviews of Iceland(ers) but also some â€œcomparisonsâ€? with our own countries.
Table of content Categorie Subject
Story of the Lighthouse Grótta Lighthouse and Kambanesviti Lighthouse There are around 120 lighthouses scattered along the coast of
such as the Garðskagaviti Lighthouse at the tip of the Reykjanes
Iceland, some of them quite prominent, standing proud and facing
Peninsula and the Akranesviti Lighthouse on the Akranes Peninsula
the harsh weathers of the North Atlantic. Others are more humble
in West Iceland.
and weathered after serving passing ships and boats for decades. Most of them are under the supervision of the Icelandic Road and
We have visited two of them: the Grótta Lighthouse in Reykjavik
Coastal Administration and therefore visited on a regular basis for
and Kambanesviti Lighthouse close to Stöðvarfjörður. The Gróttuviti
maintenance. One thing is for sure: they are well taken care of.
lighthouse, as know as Grótta Lighthouse, is a historic tower built
Some of these lighthouses now decorating the Icelandic shoreline are truly beautiful, proud landmarks and monuments of their makers. Some of them are located in quite remote places on rocks and points, a few meters from the powerful waves of the North Atlantic Ocean. Most lighthouses are accessible and popular to visit among hikers. A few lighthouses in Iceland are open to the public and sometimes offering concerts and art displays for visiting tourists and guests,
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on a small offshore island the Grótta, near the little town called Seltjarnarnes. It marks the entrance to the harbor of Reykjavik, not far from the city center, around 5 km West of downtown. The first structure was built in 1897, and the current aspect dates from 1947. It is one of the many Iceland’s lighthouses still active in the country. The lighthouse is usually not open to visitors but even then you will still enjoy fine views on a clear day and a marvelous opportunity for a panorama of a huge chunk of Faxafloi bay by which Reykjavik
city sits. This is the best point of view to see northern light, sunset and midnight sun. This place is very easy and cheap to get to. The best way to experience this area is to walk from downtown Reykjavik by the shoreline, this will take around 1 hour at a leisurely pace. But you can also drive or even better, cycle, to the parking lot just near the lighthouse that is on an island just off the beach. Easier still is hop on board bus number 11 from downtown and get off at Lindargotu road. From there a five minute walk and you are done. The space surrounding the Grótta Lighthouse is a popular recreational area and also a bird sanctuary. For this reason, tourist access is forbidden between May and July. Several species of birds every year choose Grótta for nesting, and during some months of the year the whole area is bustling with life. If you’re not careful enough, you can easily become an intruder and be attacked by feathered creatures incited by your presence. The list of birds you may see armed with binoculars and a lot of patience includes: Black Headed Gull, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Turnstone, Long-tailed Duck or Oldsquaw, The Red-necked Phalarope, Greater Scaup, Calidrids, Eurasian Oystercatcher and Black-legged Kittiwake.
The space surrounding the grótta lighthouse is a popular recreational area In this amazing place Björk, one of Iceland‘s most famous musician, has a black house, it is her favourite place for stretches of isolated song writing. Here she has released a beautiful video for her song Stonemilker from the Vulnicura album. The video shows the singer and her surroundings in a 360-degree film. The tide and fleeting winter daylight gave her only a few hours to make the video. The other lighthouse we have visited is in the region of Austurland in East Iceland, around 600 km from Reykjavik. It is the Kambanesviti Lighthouse and it is located on the tip of the peninsula between Stöðvarfjörður Fjord (Stodvarfjordur) and Breiðdalsvík Cove (Breiddalsvik). Built in 1922, it’s made of concrete and stands 11.3 metres high and 26 metres above sea level. Accessible by road and a short hike down to the tower. But this is not as easy as it sounds. Walking from Breiðdalsvík to the lighthouse will provide you with an amazing view. You’ll see some wild animals like horses and sheeps,
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there are small waterfalls coming down from the mountain and a lot of birds fly around you. But it depends on the conditions of the weather if the walk will feel like a walk by the beach in Hawaii or it feels like one of the hardest work-out you’ve ever done. So we were lucky to experience the last one. This came with mountains hidden in the clouds, which looked like a fantasy, something mysterious was happening there. This was the lovely part of the extreme weather conditions. On the other hand the wind and rain where horrible. When we finally were close to the lighthouse you have to leave the steady road en walk through the rough nature. The wind was so strong that we almost blew away. The rain made the ground feel like a sponge, with every step we took the feet would sink into the ground, sometimes you couldn’t even see you’re feet anymore.
the rain made the ground feel like a sponge When finally arriving to the other side of the hill we couldn’t find the lighthouse anymore. At last after climbing over big rocks and jumping over pools of water we saw it, next to the water. Even with the extreme weather conditions it was beautiful to see. Imagine how it could be if it weather was calm the sun was shining and you could keep dry feet…
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Economic growth supported by tourism Icelandic travel and tourism is one of the
steadily at an average annual rate of 6%.
that gap was almost 25 per cent in 2014,
fastest-growing sectors of the Icelandic
In 2004, travellers to Iceland increased to
primarily due to the huge rise in visitors
economy. Today, tourism in Iceland
362,200 from 320,000 the year before, or
travelling to the scenic North Atlantic
accounts for approximately 13% of the
countryâ€™s income from foreign sources. It is estimated that the travel and tourism
Foreign currency earnings from foreign
sector provides 5,400 jobs and that the
tourists were estimated at ISK 37,300
Nearly half the industry revenue was
volume of Icelandic tourism accounts for
million making the industry second after
brought in by airfare, while 158bn krona
about 4,5% of the GNP. Gross National
Fisheries in foreign currency earnings.
went directly into hotels, restaurants
Product (GNP) is the value of all products
and other service providers. The number
and services produced in one year by
National statistics office Hagstofa Islands
of visitors is again expected to increase
labour and property supplied by citizens of
published figures showing that tourism-
over the course of 2015, with more than
related business recorded sales of 304bn
a million tourists to touchdown in the
krona last year â€“ 27bn krona more than in
country for the first time ever.
Over the past decade, the number of
2013. Two years ago, tourism sales were
travellers to Iceland has been growing
just two per cent above fishing sales, but
Export of goods and services 29 27
17 15 2009
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When ecology and Economy meet in Iceland Iceland. A land entirely created out of
feed their livestock and use it as manure.
lava, mountains and rivers, remained
The different people we interviewed all
unspoiled and undisturbed until 870.
conveyed to say that since 10 years, people
Still today, with its modest 300 000
got aware of environmental protection
inhabitants, 130 volcanoes, 62.7% of
and changed their behaviour, by using
tundra and 11% of glaciers, Iceland ranks
less their car, systematically recycling, and
as the 13th cleanest country in the in Yale
doing every little thing they can at their
Universityâ€™s Environmental Performance
scale. â€œ I do everything I can do to respect
Index. This is mainly due to its clean and
nature and I think some big change can
abundant water, its natural reserves, and
happen if everything does soâ€? said us the
an economy based on renewable use with
swimming pool manager. This useful and
geothermic energy. Here, nature is wild
productive philosophy is on good way to
and imposing. To give you an idea, the
maintain the environment, all the more in
national parc Vatnajokull, more than being
a 300 000 inhabitant island. Yet industrial
the biggest reserve in Europe, covers 13%
projects are slowing down such active
A respectful local adaptation to nature
A stormy settlement
Icelanders enjoyed such prolific nature
Though Islanders indeed adapted to the
and thus base 85% of their energy upon
nature and manage to live in a sustainable
renewable sources : 65% of geothermy,
way, the capitalism and greedy way of living
20% of hydroelectricity. Islanders are right
of our last centuries tend to unbalance for
to brag about their clean energy because
the worse the human-nature coevolution.
they indeed endeavour to live respecting
For few and discret as the Icelanders can
the nature. 85% of houses are heated
be, it is also discretly that they rank first
thanks to geothermy.
The last decade
in the classment of consomption of energy
has seen an enthousiasm for electricity,
per habitant. This is nevertheless quite
understandable as they need to protect
people, among whom some inhabitants
themselves from such Arctic cold. But
of Stodvarfjordur, explain they do their
their high standards of living also explain
utmost to waste or to use their car as less
such classment. Having ranked among the
as possible, and reuse as more as possible.
richest country until 2007, the average
For instance, the restaurant of this town
Islander used to have a kat kat, second
gives all its extrafood to the farm so to
homes and cutting edge technology.
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Besides, the erosion of Icelandic pristine
18,000 km2 so seriously as to be useless.
production. Foreign firms thus established
nature is nothing but new, as the no-tree
The commerce at all costs also altered
massively on this little island to produce
land reputation is due to the Viking’s
Iceland, as the sales of stone marten fur,
aluminnium. The probllem is
frenetic itch to take off trees along their
extensive tourism or selling parts of the
production figures within the most
ways, for firewood and timber. Though
ocean as fishing zones. Nevertheless,
reforestation has been undertaken since, it
government remained strict and cautious
production. In 1969 the Canadian firm Tio
has nothing to do with the “forested from
by imposing quotas and strict policies
Tinto Alcan established the first aluminium
mountain to seashore” land that Iceland
to prevent from extinctions and natural
plant in Iceland. With the “help” of the
used to be, as Ari the Wise described it in
disasters. For instance many deputees in
two other smelting plants settled in
late 12th century.
the Parliament fight for natural sites to
Iceland since, they use 80% of the energy
remain free. To search for such disasters
produced in Iceland.. This is all the more
we shall take a look at the industries.
outrageous when we realise that only 1%
Icelanders have found many other ways to transform their ecosystem. Mainly, deforestation,
of the benefits of such production goes to When Iceland economy feels alone, the
the Icelanders (those who are employed
during the Little Ice Age and overgrazing by
nature carries the can
in these firms), all the rest being reserved
sheep imported by settlers caused a loss
Since the end of 1960, the production
to the parent forein companies, while
of critical topsoil due to erosion. Concretly,
of aluminium drastically developped in
it is also creating debts for Icelanders
three-quarters of Iceland’s 100,000 square
Iceland, the abundant
to such companies... Being obsessed
kilometres are affected by soil erosion,
geothermy being ideal for such
with the foreign investissements, the
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Thanks to people, the government changes. Since 10 years, a lot of things have been improved regarding environmental measures. Yet there is still a lot of things to improve
Among those, the project to re-categorize
a change in individual behaviours. Such
currently) authorises the US firm Alcoa to
eight sites as “utilizable” options for
changes finally reached governments,
build huge dam at the entry of Vatnajokull
the construction of hydroelectric power
which thus promoted nature protection,
national park to supply an aluminium
plants. Fortunately, this is still in discussion
implementing environmentally friendly
smelting plant. Such dam has doubled the
as members of the Parliament opposed to
measures such as keeping nature reserves
production of energy in Iceland..Since the
such plan. Yet, judging by the past years
free and putting into force strict policies
economic crisis, the government keeps
and the fact that the curr conservative
about aluminium disposals. this is the
on financiating such kind of projects and
party decimed 70% of the environmental
avantage of living in a small country what’s
selling huge parts of unspoiled nature to
ministery, the hour shall be more at
more the one where the first Parliament
foreign firms. The foreign investissements
protesting and occupying such threatened
ever was created. If people impulse and
indeed represent for Iceland a goldsend
sites than at optimism.If you want to get
promote some change, the government
to revitalise its economy.. at the cost of
informed and oppose to such projects you
environment and the national economy.
can take a look at www.savingiceland.org
Parliament passed rules to attract foreign
We still can remain hopeful towards
manufacturing such as a 10-year cap on
the influence of people on government
the 20% corporate rate, which is among
measures. According to the Islanders
the lowest in the world. but the worse is to
we interviewed, the civil awareness
come as many nature-destroying projects
of environmental issues that occured
keep on gushing in politicians’ minds.
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How the government closed the east coast What used to be the riches village of Iceland turned into an abandoned city, all because of a decision made circa 30 years ago.
In the Austerland on the north side of the Stöðvarfjörður Fjord between the Stedji and Súlur mountain you find a small village called Stöðvarfjörður. This used to be the riches village of Iceland, but now when passing through all you see is an abandoned place, gone glory. When someone tells you until 1984 this town had the highest income of Iceland per person, all because of the rich fishery, it seems unlikely. ‘You could just pick the fish out of the water here at the coast line, there where so much’. We asked the people of Stöðvarfjörður what happened. In the 15th century was the first conflict about the fishing area around Iceland, between the Icelandic government and a foreign country. This was the beginning of the “cod wars”. In 1901 the government of Iceland declared a fishing limit of three miles (4,8 kilometres) from the coast. Because of the treat of big multinationals and shrinking fish population the limit of three miles was extended up to 200 miles (321.9 kilometres) in 1976. But it was already to late most of the valuable fish stocks were being overfished. During the past years a lot of the fish factories on the east coast of Iceland had to close. There is not enough fish for all the factory’s to stay open. According to the people in Stöðvarfjörður this happened because a big multinational bought the ocean. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anywhere if this is a speculation or the truth. In Stöðvarfjörður the last factory closed in 2005 and a lot of the people left the village because there was not enough work anymore. The empty fish factories became derelict. Starting in 2008 people tried to give the empty factory’s new life. A man bought two of the buildings to store summer vehicles during winter. During summer time there are hand craft markets and events. In 2009 and 2010 they organised an exhibition about the fish factory. They showed how the factory used to look like and how the life in Stöðvarfjörður was.
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You could just pick the fish out of the water, here at the coast line, there where so much.
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Strange habit s of nature a sky that’s dancing Northen lights are (usually, but not always) green lights that can
on the ground. Here in Iceland, seeing the northern lights is most
be seen from places in the far north such as Iceland, Scandinavia,
certainly annual and regular, although still rather unpredictable.
Alaska and northern parts of Canada. Because of their nature it looks like the lights are moving around the sky, dancing if you
To see big and beutiful northlights there are some factors that
will, and it’s a pretty spectacular sight. But, What are the Northern
needs happens. Guaranteed darkness is the first important factor.
Lights? Why they appear?
The best season to see the northern lights in Iceland is from
The northern lights are the result of electrically charged particles from the sun colliding with gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing displays of bright, colourful dancing lights. They are visible in the magnetic polar regions of the northern and southern hemispheres and they can range in colour from white, green, pink and purple. The most common colour you can see is the green but in fact, in the photos of our volunteer team there were some lights purple and pink. According to the Northern Lights Centre in Canada, scientific studies have found that the northern and southern Auroras often occur at the same time as mirror images. This of course means that the Auroras are often happening, even if they aren’t visible to us down
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September to mid-April – these are the months where there are full dark nights. Our group were very lucky because we have been in September so we could see a exciting northenlights. Second most important factor is the length of time you choose to stay in Iceland. The northern lights usually tend to be very active for two to three nights, then low for four to five nights, in ongoing cycles. Next important factor is the weather. Since Iceland is a small north Atlantic island, it is subject to fierce and rapidly changing weather. In order to see the northern lights, the skies need to be very clear. This often coincides with some of the coldest nights, since clear dark weather in Iceland usually means temperatures below freezing.
at noon in Iceland. The city of Iceland is surrounded by a river, the
Difference of nature Japan vs Iceland My name is Saya. I live in Tokyo,Japan.I couldn’t image what Iceland has before I came to Iceland. So, I wanted to see that with my eyes and also I wanted to find what difference between Japan and Iceland. Iceland is so far from Japan. There is about 8,600km distance from Japan to Iceland and takes 20hours include transfer. It is hard for Japanese to come Iceland. I think there are many Icelandic who have never been to Japan. So, I would like to talk about what the difference is between Japan and Iceland. First,I talk about population and area.I thought population of Iceland is low. This is because we can see many people when we walk the city on the night in Japan. But we don’t see many people 22 | una magazine | september east edition
sea, a mountain and tree. In Japan,there are many buildings which we use for working and living and many people. Japan has convenience store in which we can buy something like food, beverage and book. It opens 24hours!! If we need something at night, we can go to convenience store. The population of Japan is about 127 million people, and the area is about 380,000km². Density of population is 336persons/ km². In Iceland, there are the population of Iceland is 320,000 people, and the area is about 103,00km².The density of population is 3persons/ km².This shows the population of Japan is higher than Iceland. If you come to Japan and go sightseeing, you can visit many tourist spots like Tokyo Tower, Disneyland and etc. However, they are all building not nature. The tourist spots which I visit are waterfall, mountain and sea with glaciers. Those are all nature. It’s amazing!! Next, I talk about traffic.Most people always use train,bus and car
to go to school,company and somewhere in Japan. If they go place nearby, they go there by bike. The train of Japan comes a station for every 5mins and departures on time. It is very useful for us to use it. However, it is crowded by people and sometimes some people can’t ride the train. In Iceland, there is no train so Icelandic use a bus and car. It is strange for Japanese not to use the train. And also I saw many people who hitchhike. I don’t have many people who hitchhike in Japan. I have never seen the person who hitchhike. The environment is different from Japan and Iceland. I can’t believe that it’s in the same earth. I’m always living surrounded by a lot of people and many building, it was strange to live in the environment surrounded. But I think that it is good for me to spend in Iceland because there are natures.If I don’t come to Iceland, I wouldn’t be able to know many thing about Iceland. This is good experience for me.
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IceFantasy Elfs, fairyâ€™s, trols and other creatures
It is thought that Troll, magician, ghost, and elf exist in Iceland. (Icelandic word: Troll, Gardramadur, Draugur, Alfur) The elf is important for Icelandic people. They also have not only the small fairy whom we imagine but also the one that the appearance and shape that looked like human. They are also called “Huldufork” (Hidden people). “Alfar” is well known to Icelandic. Elves usually live in the forest and the rock, etc and invisible, but can be seen if they feel like it. They can be helpful and kind to those who do them no harm, and repay favors with favors. On the other hand, they can also be malicious and take revenge if harmed. What is the elf's existence for people in Iceland? It was discontinued by the nature conservation group in Iceland though the road construction was scheduled to be done in recent years in Iceland. Surprisingly, the high court of justice confessed their existence, and more than 60% of the Icelandic nation believe. Thus, there are people who importantly regard the elf in Iceland, too. There are people who defend so that their places are not threatened. Moreover, there is a school that can learn about the fairy in Iceland, and it is possible to learn excluding the elf. (The Elfschool) Do a lot of Icelandic believe in elf? Iceland is converted to the Christianity in 1000 in the Christian era. It kept transmitting the legend of the private organization on the other hand without being excluded to it. Even if a new culture that the Christianity of people in Iceland enters, an old culture and nature have been being valued. From the point, they believe and cherish the elf. About the elf in Iceland It is equal to valuing the environment and nature that people in Iceland value the elf. I stay 1in Iceland for about one month, and it has been understood well. The mountain and the river are more than the house, and is clear air. And, I felt that it was a country that spent time easily though there were a lot of cold days. I think that thinking that the fairy exists in such an environment is natural. Maybe, when the aurora is seen, you think that you feel it so. I believe that there is the elf. Do you believe the elf?
Icelanders vs. Basques How a law allowed killing the Basques’
A law of 1615 was allowing the Basques'
want to encourage basque people not to
Cristián VI decided to put a law allowing
murder in the district of the Western Fiords
be afraid about coming to this beautiful
Iceland people killing basques. In that
of Iceland and nobody remembered to
island because it is consider to be one of
year three basques galleon´s arrived to
repeal it until the last April 22. The law was
the safest country of the world, besides it
one of the fiords of west of Iceland and
promulgated by the Danish king Cristián IV
is an incredible place that everybody in life
three days later basques people when
and made it fulfils Ari Magnússon, chief
should visit at least ones.
they were celebrating the returning a
of the region, in order that his neighbours
huge storm came, that was the moment
were chasing to the Basque whale-boats
Why had they accept that law? Before
where it started the disaster, the galleon
that had just suffered a shipwreck: they
1615 the relationship between Basque
were completely broken so they had to
killed 32, the major massacre of the
and Iceland people was very good but
come again. 83 guys were completely wet,
history of Iceland.
after 1615 the relation between them
without anything, no food, no clothes...
it changed completely. Iceland was the
and the worse thing was that the winter
This law did not have sense because in
poorest country in Europe, it also suffered
was arriving very quickly.
Iceland it is supposed that for enough
pirates attack, in fact, the first time that
time killing any person is Basque or of
a basque galleon appeared, they though
As we have mentioned before, Iceland
any other country is forbidden, so we
that they were attackers, so that spring
was the poorest country in Europe,
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Basque sailor wanted to buy some sheep
time till the fight, so eventually, they mixed
by the basques in Icelandic waters. Some
but the Icelandic people turned down
them language to understand each others
locations in Westfiords still carry the name
them because they had not enough food
in a simple way. The point is that the
that Basques had given them. Recent
for them. So the captain of the galleon
Basques were probably the first Europeans
excavations suggest that they may have
went to Jon Grimsson house, a priest of
to engage in organized whaling. As early
operated a land-based whaling station in
Iceland and he asked him for some sheep,
as the 12th century, they began to hunt
Steingrímsfjördur. Basques came to terms
Villafranca told him that they had a big
Northern Right in the Bay of Biscay. After
since both parties benefited from the
doubt because they gave them wales fat
the depletion of the species in Spanish
for free, the priest did not care about that
waters, they expanded their hunt to the
Then, there is a manuscript: Basque-
and he completely said no, so basque
coasts of Labrador (Newfoundland) and
sailors hit the priest, that was the moment
Iceland. As we know, whaling at that time
blendingsmál). The lingo consists of words
that started the fight between Basque and
was dangerous business. That being done
from Basque. It is said to originate from
with hand harpoons from small wooden
West Fjords the said manuscript was
51 basques stated stilling everything,
boats, so, anyone could do it.
discovered there. In addition, nowadays
sheep, fish and also a ship so they could
both languages still use some of those
leave Basque country way. The other 32
Sources from the 17th and 18th centuries
person were kill by Icelandic by different
testify to the extensive whaling carried in
words, see the table.
ways. At the last episode, Villafranca was in a house and Magnusson and Grimsson went to that house, the basque captain started saying sorry but it was not enough and although the priest forgive him another Icelander killed him.
Mixed languages As we have told, Icelanders and Basques have been working together for a long
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A traveler’s story The adventure of Steve In Stöðvarfjörður we met Steve, he’s from Hamilton in New Zealand,
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chilli, New Zealand, Australia,
30 year’s old, at least two meters tall and has funny curly hair. At
Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Bali, Lombok, Thailand, Vietnam,
the moment he works as a volunteer in an art factory in the east of
Hong Kong, The Netherlands and finally Iceland. When visiting so
Iceland. But that’s not where his journey begun.
many countries’ you experience some crazy stuff.
In 2010 he left his home country to experience the ‘European life’,
It already started in Colombia. Because of a dry skin he put the
he moved to the Netherlands. For almost a year he lived in Baarn,
coconut oil all over his body. Standing in the shower, trying to get
worked in Bilthoven at bike shop and tried to learn Dutch in Utrecht.
clean again there just fall a snake in to the shower! It was a small
After a year he moved to Enschede, which is close to the German
one, not longer than one meter, but one bite of this snake can kill
border, where he started to work together at the university. Still he
you. Not able to finish his shower meant that he was still covered in
took every change he had to make a small trip to another country.
coconut oil. It took until the next day before he good get clean. In
So in a couple of years he’d seen almost whole Europe.
these moments you learn to appreciate the simple things as taking
Last year he decided to quit his job and travel around the world.
‘This was probably the hardest thing I had to do, telling everybody
In Peru he went to Machu Pichu, but there are only two ways to get
that next year I won’t be here.’ In January 2015 he stared a trip
there: by train or by bus. The train is by far the most savest way, but
around the world, in eight months he visited four continents!
it’s also really expensive. So this was not an option, which means
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that he had to take the bus. The bus is cheap and it takes a long
know what you will do and when you will do it. But in South America
time to get in Machu Pichu, this shouldn’t be a problem. Maybe
it’s nothing like that. If you want to go somewhere you just get on
it could be a problem that the bus drives next to a cliff, the drivers
the bus and hope that everything works out. Surprisingly nothing
are no good and the buses are way to old. Luckily he survived the
went wrong, but it’s hard to let go if you’re not used to that.
suicide bus trip!
Right know he works as a volunteer in an art factory in Iceland.
Taking mushrooms in Gili Air, which is close to Bali, was probably
Before this he worked in the National park close to Dortmund. He
one of the craziest things he experienced. ‘I laughed the whole
helped renovating the infrastructure in the park and now he is the
night’. Also surfing on a reef with waves over two to three meters
handyman who everybody needs.
is you do not do every day. And in even though it was a short ride, he’ll never forget the motor ride he took in Vietnam.
It’s hard to keep on traveling, stay motivated to visit amazing places and be amazed
But why give up the traveling? ‘It’s hard to keep on traveling, stay motivated to visit amazing places and be amazed about them again and again. One beautiful mountain will look like the other one. So on one moment there is no reason to weak up early and you will start living from party to party. If you’re a volunteer in a foreign country you have a purpose to get up in the morning. You have a daily structure and get more involved in the culture of the country.’
In Koh Phangan (Thailand) he got the Dengue fever. It’s a desease you get from the mosquitos. If you’re body is out of shape this desease can kill you. Luckily that didn’t happen, but he was sick for two weeks. He sad it was horrible it feels like you have a fever, head- and stomachache and everything is itchy all at the same
And why Iceland, after all it’s only the fifth time he’s here! He sad that it didn’t necessary needed to be Iceland, maybe after this he’ll do some volunteering in another country. He is already in contact with a nice family in Italy; they live close to Rome in a beautiful farmhouse and need a good Handyman.
time. It takes a lot of energy to get better form desease like this.
Steve would describe his journey as a learning curve for himself.
During his recover he lost around 11 pounds.
He learned what he does and doesn’t like, and how he pictures his
One of the hardest things he experienced happened in South America. In the Netherlands he learned to plan everything. You
future. He learned that the most important things for him are the people who are with him. As long as there are good people around, it doesn’t matter where you are. september east edition | una magazine | 29
The food of the island known as one of the moste disgusting food’s om the world
Sharks don’t urinate
spiked scales and can grow as large as 24 feet in length.
One of the most eccentric experience you can try in Iceland it’s the
Shockingly, the shark doesn’t actually smell upon first inspection,
culinary challenge to eat Hakarl, known as one of the disgusting
the door blessedly protected by its dry and rigid skin. Only when
food in the world, eating the most dangerous animal of the sea:
the hide is cut away to reveal the rotten flesh does the rancid
Shark and Whale
stench waft through the air, singeing the nostrils and back of throat.
The shark do not urinate as most animals do, they convert urin to
urea, a toxic compund which is really converted ammonia. Urea is
The whale is a widely distributed and diverse group of fully aquatic
absodbed in the flesh and expelled by through the skin. When a
marine mammals. It is worth mentioning here that the only whale
shark dies this urea is converted back to ammonia, for this reason
type consumed in Iceland is minke whale (which has never been
shark meat tasty and smally really bad. So for preparing the meat
considered endangered!) Whale meat can both be eaten rew or
you need many months for to let clean the meat, buried under the
cooked. Icelanders will let you know that minke whale is not an
ground, but still remain horrible. When foreigners try to eat Hakarl,
endangered species, but for some visitors, it´s still whale and
almost people looked stiff look on their face and take a picture for
that´s a full-stop no-way, while others use the ´i will just try it
taking a commemorative photograph.
Hakarl is made from a Greenland shark that lives in the polar waters
“Meet Us Don’t eat us” is campaign to take whale meat off the
of the North Atlantic Ocean. When their Viking forebears settled
menu for tourists. The campaign is a positive campaign because
the island centuries ago, Greenlandic shark, which is abundant in
when we approach tourists and also Icelanders, we point out that
the city waters of the North Atlantic, became the main staple of the
the most sustainable way to enjoy whales is by responsable whale
island. The problem with the Greenland shark, other than the fact
watching – better for whales and the Icelandic economy.
that it is fairly ugly, is that the meat is toxic to humans. It has thick, 30 | una magazine | september east edition
Icelander and Irish mixed - JIWOO KIM
short stories made in a lit tle village on a small island in the big ocean
After the wall One of the most important phenomenon of the last years it’s for sure the “Song of the ice and fire”, better known for the TV serial “Game of thrones”, and which better location can describe the earth after the wall, virgin and untouched by human, than the real earth of ice and fire, as Iceland is known.
Jon Snow and his night’s watch for theirs
exploration after the wall, looking for
volcanoes, glaciers, icebergs, hot springs,
undead, white walker and other magical
theater of our favorite show, make of
creatures, pass for the must-see tourist
Iceland one of the most fantastic country
attraction up here; Like the vast Lake
to visit, indeed in the last few years the
Myvatn, a desolate place surrounded
number of tourist is incredible grown,
by lava stacks used for several scenes,
the share of tourism rose 55% from 2009
important even Grjótagjá, a cave with a
through 2013, and it’s still increasing, The
hot spring where the water can get up to
nation is preparing for what many are
50 degree and has been the Jon and Ygritte
calling a gold rush in, a number of visitors
are set to jump 23% this year and to as
And the most mysteries area after the
many as 3 million a year by 2020.
wall you can find in Vatnajökull the vast
This could change completely the face
mountainous area of south-east Iceland
of Iceland as we know, many locals are
forms Europe's largest glacier, located in
afraid of these numbers, for a country
the largest national park of Europe The
with a population of just 320,000 people
scenery is extremely varied. Towards
and think that Iceland is not ready, while
the north, the highland is divided by
the government is raising the funds for
glacial rivers, and the volcanoes of Askja,
tourism sector, to build the necessary
Kverkfjöll over this region, together with
infrastructure, and get ready for this
the volcanic table mountain Herðubreið,
boom. For sure, after the economic crisis
which Icelanders call the Queen of the
of 2008, the tourists’ money can be a wind
of fresh air for Iceland. september east edition | una magazine | 31
If we are looking for search about
one which are so small anybody knows
other common tradiction, we can find
anybody from they were children. So,
Þorláksmessa´s day (December 23rd).
they think to each other like far relatives.
During that day Icelandics usually go to buy
Even go out in own village privacy is not
some present and also they meet together
a option, go to see a movies or to go in a
to eat the tipical meal Skata (Skata is
coffee shop, you would invariably bump
Iceland raw fish). They eat that type of
into someone you know. Person would
fish because that is the last day of fasting
give you a curious glance and then ask to
of Christmas and the tradition tells ´don´t
everyone you mutually know: “Are those
eat meat´. The most emphasized of this
two seeing each other?” So, an easy
fish is that it has to be eaten in putrefied
date suddenly you will feel more like an
condition. Because if isn´t do that, it can
be dangerous. So you can imagine how this fish smells!
Gleðileg jól! Merry Christmas
Indeed, in Reykjavík the thing change a lot. Many youths usually in the weekend, move
If they asked us about another tradition,
in the bigger city nearer for hang out, but
we could speak about what they do in
still the options are limited compared to
Christmas day. This day is one of the most
big cities. In addition, the weather is often
important day on Iceland. The familiy
harsh and things are pretty expensive, so,
Do you know about Iceland’s Christmas? If
usually meet and go to cementeries to
some of youths decided to get drunk in
you are travelling in Iceland at Christmas,
remenber their dead relatives. They not
them houses and later they go out in their
you can’t see Santa Claus because there
only go and visit them, they also put
cars around Reykjavik streets looking for
are different Christmas culture. Learn
some adornments and lights, this used to
someone who meet or just they already
about Iceland’s christmas traditions here.
surprise to tourists.
know to get party with them. It seems
First of all, “Merry Christmas” in Icelandic
that, youths girls are friendlier than boys
means “Gleðileg jól!’
who are shyer until they get drunk. After drive a little bit, they go out from their
Christmas in Iceland is an interesting
cars in which they also have been drinking
experience as this country has many
old traditions for celebrating Christmas. Expect no fewer than 13 Icelandic Santa
In Icelandic as in many countries, they
Clauses! In Iceland, they are called
usually wait until last hours in the night,
(“Yuletide Lads”; singular: jólasveinn),
when everyone you know has gone home,
whose parents is Grýla and Leppalúdi as
or they are too drunk to care of you. They
you can see at the picture. Nowadays,
can getting hammered and then heading
during Christmas, theis their function is to
home with whoever happens to be
come to town bearing gifts and candy (and
standing next to you at closing time. It is
a prank or two). They usually go down to
widely understood that what happens at
12th of december and the last one arrives
Sweat hearts in a cold country
at the 24th, they give one present per day
The first though when I arrived to
after to figure out if you two really have
and when the 13 have gone down the 13
Stöðvarfjörður it was how people, in a
something in common and if the same
following days they are raising one to one
village of 200 souls, can get engaged each
thing happens again next weekend with
until January 6, which is the day that the
other. Speaking a bit around, they told us
the same person, you have yourself a
that simple they do not. In village like this
the town one by one, The first starts the
32 | una magazine | september east edition
the bar when everybody are drunk doesn’t really count. Leave it until the morning
On the other hand, that way it is not the
almost 400 people to 200 people. So, the
pay) but she want to be vegetarian,she can
unique way to meet people. There are a
economic crisis hit this village years before
not because of the money.
lot of apps to meet people who live near
the rest of country.
to you and perhaps, he or she is looking for the same thing that you are looking for. As we have said, everyone in Iceland knows everyone but anybody knows about who is going to be the person who are you going to fall in love with him. Despite of that, here lives many couples that one of them is from Iceland and the other from another
She doesnâ€™t seem enthusiast about tourist, she thinks that in few years the impact of the tourist could be devastating and it will bring a lot of change, Iceland is not ready to host this number of people, that is growing every day. She is afraid that Iceland could lose his own identity.
country. People who come from another
Iceland considered a very expensive
country they usually arrived here because
country and because of that most of people
of scholarship, holidays or just because of
living in Reykjavik have to have more than
work, and they finally make the decision
one job, to can live in a better condition.
to stay in Iceland because they fall in love
If we speak about the countryside of this
with someone or they just fall in love with
awesome island we can see that is too
different, maybe a house can cost around only 6000â‚Ź ! So the different between capital and countryside as we can see is colossal. When we asked her how can she met her husband or boyfriend she answered that
Icelander and Irish mixed
at the countryside is very difficult to met
How many people know about Iceland
anyone because you know everybody so
and Ireland? I stayed in Dublin so when I
she told us that her ex-husband was an
heard about Icelander and Irish mixed the
exchange student from the Czech republic
family, it was so curious to me. Iceland
and they met in a university party. We have
and Ireland is not far and both of those is
heard a lot about an app for the phone
island and especially Iceland is one of the
and we wanted to know if they usually use
greatest landscape in Europe, also they
to put in contact with other village people
are shrouded in mystery to other country
but she answered that it is not very usual
people. Therefore, I had an interest in the
to use it.
story about Icelander and Irish.
old, her family moved to here. She did not
We also asked for the food and we told
First, I heard the history to my friend from
have a job but she started a project 5 years
her that we heard that in this country is
Iceland. When I came to Iceland, He told
ago about recovering a dismissed fishing
very common to eat whale and shark, she
me about the story.
factory which the government wanted
answered that it is true but she was against
after this closed many years ago. Many
killing animals so she did not like eating
people were working when the factory
sharks even though whales. She also told
closed, it was disaster for everybody, a
us that she usually eat fish because there
lot of people lost their job, all the village
are free if you fish at the ocean (if you
completely changed face passing from
want to fish on rivers or lakes you have to
Introduce about interview Rosa Valtingojer is 32 years old in 1983. She is from Reykjavik but when she was 2 years
Irish has ginger. The color is typical feature of Irish also Icelander have the color. In the past, Icelandic was Viking who thought Irish girl is so beautiful then they want to marry with Irish girl. So, they was mixed. It was funny story so I was searching the september east edition | una magazine | 33
history that why they was mixed. At the beginning of the “Viking Age,” ca. AD 800, the Irish knew how to get to Iceland and back and some anchorites from there had spent considerable time in that empty country. There is no evidence of any permanent settlement, however, or family migration from Ireland to Iceland, nor did Irish strains of sheep or other farm animals survive in Iceland. It’s settlement was left to the Norse. In fact, Icelanders have about 60% Norse origins and rest is Scottish or Irish heritage. Because the Vikings would stop on their way to Iceland in Scotland and Ireland and take people hostage and transfer them to Iceland to use as slaves. Obviously with time, some ‘merge’ took place. This explains the fair complexion of Icelanders, with the majority of them having blonde or slightly ginger hair and blue eyes. Some people joke that this explains why the Icelandic men are strong and the women are beautiful, through the strong ‘survival of the fittest’ Viking genes and the beauty from Gaelic belles.
34 | una magazine | september east edition
From student to camp leader Arriving in Stöðvarfjörður we where
and I would like to learn how to be a good
really exited about the photographing
leader. For now I really like to do it. I also
and journalism work camp. Meeting local
like the nature; I would like to see the
people and other volunteers, interviewing
extreme animals like the puffin and the
them. The problem was that we couldn’t
find local people and there where no other
C: I was attracted by the surrealistic nature
volunteers. So we decided to interview the
and landscapes, but firs of all because
camp leaders. It turned out there stories
of the curiosity about the high level of
are quit interesting.
happiness of Icelandic people.
Can you tell us who you are, how old you
Before you came here what were you’re
are and where you’re from?
expectations about you’re project and
Marisol, 22, France, studying Cultural
M: I would like to meet people, explore
Felix, 20, France, studying Business school.
Iceland and to live in a community.
Péter Padányi, 34, Hungary, studied
F: Like I already sad, I expected to see new
Horticultural University and Food Industry.
landscapes. But also discover how to lead
After university I went to England for three
a group and to life in a community.
months, here I worked at the Red Cross
P: My expectation is that after all the
where I organized accommodation for
work camps I’ve improved myself on two
immigrants. Now I work in Malta at the
points. I hope my English will be better,
charity service centre. This is a shelter
that’s very important for me. Also it’s hard
for gypsy family’s, the homeless and drug
for me to step into a room full of people
and join their conversations. It would be
Cristina, 25, born in Moldova but I have
really amazing if I could improve myself
been living in Romania for 10 years now.
to cooperate better with people in big
I study psychology. Member of an ONG in
groups. And that in the future I can easier
the field of youth and involvement in the
connect to people.
life of the local communities, city IASI.
C: My general goal in the daily life is to enjoy the strange and beautiful adventure
Was it a specific choice for you to come
of life while inspiring other people to do
the same thing; I thought this experience
M: I like the nature.
could offer me a chance to follow this line
F: I came to discover new landscapes like
the volcano’s, mountains, lake’s, geyser and meeting new people.
Why did you choose to be a camp leader
P: Firstly I would like to prove my English.
and stay here for a long term?
This is the first time I’m a leader of a group
M: I want to be impregnated by Icelandic september east edition | una magazine | 35
culture, meet new people and bring them
not in volunteering but training so I want
worried about that.
together, to see how people function by
to understand the difference.
F: I learned to manage the time, find
themself and how they connect to others.
activity’s when the weather is bad and
F: I always wanted to have the experience
How long have you already been here and
to adapt myself to the difficulty of the
of being a volunteer. But I also wanted
until when will you stay here?
weather in Iceland. Enjoy to the fullest
to have the time to discover the whole
M: From august 8th to september 27th.
and being with the amazing people from
country and have a long experience. So
F: I’m here from the 15th of august and I’ll
different countries. Iceland is a surprising
being a camp leader for worldwide friends
stay until the end of November.
country, because of the weather which
is the perfect alternative.
P: 30th of may until the 3th of December.
can change every five minutes.
P: I choose to be here on a long-term base
C: August 6th, till October.
P: I know for myself that I’m a bit shy, and
so that I have enough time to improve my
it’s really nice to notice that I’m getting
What did you learned so far?
less and less shy while being here. Also
C: Some of my friends have already been
M: We have to plan as soon as possible,
it’s cold often and the weather changes
here in the past years and I really wanted
always check the weather and organise
so quickly, like every hour. So it’s good to
to have the same experience. I need time
everything for cooking and cleaning.
always where warm clothes.
to understand a new place and to be more
For the last two things you have to try
C: So many things so far, the beautiful
connected with, that’s why I preferred
to be fair. People are very solidary; their
emptiness of Iceland, a lot of space
to come for a long time. I already had
philosophy is everything will be okay.
for emotions. Icelanders are free to be
similar experience in organization of
People are very relaxed, the volcano could
international projects with young people,
explode at any moment, but they are not
What would you like to active during
These are the volunteers from other workcamps we asked them about their
you’re stay here and being a camp leader?
(craziest) Iceland experience.
M: To know how human people function, to understand the universal characters, being more organized and manage the unexpected. F: Create the best atmosphere for my volunteers and to make sure that at the end of their camp they are happy about their experience. P: To organize an excursion so that the people do something together. C: When volunteers have great experience and they understand how much their
To climb a
Lying down in the
I was alwas
Iceland, he life’s between Iceland and
montain in the
Peru. We talked together and he made me
Got drunk in
I didnt’t know it
I like to make
was possible, so
Iceland and fixing
I did it
attitude is creating their own experience. What´s you’re craziest experience so far? M: Meeting a chamán in the North of
a ceremony. F: We walked about 10 hours to get to close to the artic line, also swimming in the sea of Iceland was crazy. P: Seeing a whale in the fjord, I saw the tail and the head. C: I lost my credit card in the fjord and a volunteer found it in the water after two days, I had to enter the water to fish the credit card out.
Hello around the world We are the volunteers of Stöðvarfjörður. In two weeks we met local people, other volunteers, took amazing pictures, saw the aurora and become friends. We put together our experience in one sentence.
Traveling is the
If you walk
Go at least once
Take off your
only thing you
Iceland was an
alone you will
a year to a place
buy that makes
go faster, but if
you have never
for me. It is the
you walk with
first of many
friends you will
and melt with
me to live in the
38 | una magazine | septembre east edition
In this trip I’ve
Life in the
I looked up,
I can get good
than a country
I didn’t have
in a state of
I dreamt with
of this trip
my eyes open.
septembre east edition | una magazine | 39
campaigns in Iceland. We also send abroad Icelandic volunteers
Anne Benito, Ayame Shima, Carla Ciatto, Caroline Gersdorf,
who wish to have similar experiences. We are active in the
Leire Fernandez, Manual Merlin, Marisol Ramon, Marta Arrufat
Argilaguet, Saya Kuroda, JiWoo Kim
Our mission is to promote inter-cultural learning, exchange and
Design Caroline Gersdorf
awareness. Preserving Icelandic nature and raising awareness about environmental issues. Promoting voluntary work and a culture of volunteering. We aim at bringing people together and
give the opportunity to Icelanders and to foreigners to discover
Veraldarvinir â€“ Worldwide Friends (WF Iceland) was founded in
2001 as a non-profit, non-governmental organization promoting peace, friendship and international understanding. We host short-term voluntary work camps, mid and long-term voluntary projects (3-8 months), seminars (suitable for both young people and adults), youth exchanges, educational programmes and
40 | una magazine | september east edition
The camp location Scoured by Ice Age glaciers, the dramatic east coast boasts long, narrow fjords with steep sides and jagged peaks which contrast with inland fertile farmlands. Natural harbours mean picturepostcard fishing villages and seemingly never-ending roads cross
the region, providing beautiful sweeping views.
has a thriving artistic life, and one of the most excellent centres for
“Fjarðabyggð” is an association of villages in the Eastern fjords
graphic arts in the country.
of Iceland. It includes the towns of Eskifjörður, Fáskrúðsfjörður,
The local community of Stöðvarfjörður has been working for
Mjóifjörður, Neskaupstaður, Reyðarfjörður and Stöðvarfjörður, all
years with Worldwide Friends, allowing people willing to share
tiny fishing villages with steep mountains towering just behind the
their time and their energy to get totally inmersed in the daily
houses. In this area you will see some of the features that make
building and improving of the community in every aspect : social
Iceland a unique place in the world: spectacular fjords with a rich
links, environmental maintainance and preservation, renovation,
sea life, a great variety of birdlife, and countless breathtaking hiking
gardening and decoration.
paths. You will explore the area during your stay in the east. The camp will take place in Stöðvarfjörður and the area around it. The settlement in stöðvarfjörður started about 100 years ago along the fjord of the same name. The fjord is short and open to easterly weather. Rare rocks and minerals have been found in the vicinity, and Petra Sveinsdóttir has specimens on display. Stöðvarfjörður
september east edition | una magazine | 41
made in Stöðvarfjörður
Conception et rédaction du magazine islandais UNA. Comité de rédaction : Anne Benito, Ayame Shima, Carla Ciatto, Caroline Gersdorf, Leire Fe...
Published on Mar 28, 2019
Conception et rédaction du magazine islandais UNA. Comité de rédaction : Anne Benito, Ayame Shima, Carla Ciatto, Caroline Gersdorf, Leire Fe...