March 8, 2008

Iceland as "a desolate, magical place where human beings have little right to trespass."

So maybe you shouldn't travel there, but you can watch the documentary "Heima" ("Homeland") with the music of Sigur Rós — offered for streaming here on YouTube. It's also supposedly downloadable free on the band's website here, but I couldn't figure out where to click after I'd entered my information and received my code — so that was a little too desolate and magical for my taste.

Talk about Iceland, talk about traveling and not traveling, talk about majestic, other-worldly, ethereal music.

15 comments:

Paddy O. said...

National Geographic is a bit more approachable, and had a very interesting look at Iceland this past month.

Trooper York said...

Yeah but in Iceland the natives always wear their shirts. Rats.

Theo Boehm said...

Here's an astonishing picture from Iceland—magical, indeed, and like nothing else you've seen on Earth.

rhhardin said...

It must be an island of colossal boredom.

Bob said...

It's a rather forbidding, desolate place, especially in the area where the capital (Rekjavik) and the nearby NATO base are; that's basically a black moonscape of bare rock. The cities are cosmopolitan and active social centers, and a lot of drinking goes on (Brennivin), as is common in most Scandinavian countries.

There's certainly not many trees in the country. The populace lives mainly in Rekjavik and the other few cities, outside of these it is mostly wilderness of bare stone, glaciers, swift-moving rivers, and even volcanoes.

I lived there briefly in the late '80's, and quite enjoyed it.

Trooper York said...

They worship Al Gore as a god there. Thanks to global warning they have started building luxury tourist hotels because they want to be the Bermuda of the North Sea.
They wanted to put up a statue to Al, but the couldn't find one with a big enough head so they borrowed one from Easter Island. Skoal baby and get on the herring bus.

AllenS said...

If global warming is true, then here is a good tourist ad attraction: Iceland, Not So Much.

Slim999 said...

I've been waiting, and waiting and waiting for this. Thanks for the heads up.

Great music, if you're in an ethereal mood. And absolutely wonderful cinematography!

Revenant said...

Sigur Ros is awesome. The Sugarcubes (the band Bjork started out in) were a great Icelandic rock band, too.

The thing I find most interesting about Iceland is that for the most part they don't have true surnames there -- its all "X, son of Y" or "A, daughter of B". I guess it is a small enough population that that's still feasible.

mcg said...

I was in Rekjavik for a conference awhile back and took an trip to a glacier to go snowmobiling. As we got closer the vegetation declined, until for quite some time there was literally, truly, none at all. That is quite an odd sight.

Kirby Olson said...

I haven't been there but I've been translated into Icelandic (both poetry and essays). They have only 300,000 people, but they borrow an average of 50 books per year out of the library (compared to .025 in America), so I actually get letters from Icelandic people who've read my work in translation.

I love their literature (what little I've read of the sagas -- they are so contemporary it's just odd).

They are very Lutheran, too.

Omaha1 said...

I have actually visited Iceland, way back in 1979, right after I graduated from high school. My dad, the cold warrior, was stationed there by himself for one year. At the end of his duty tour our family traveled there, with both of my grandmothers. We stayed in Iceland for about a week and then left to visit West Berlin, where another relative lived.

Iceland was kind of barren, but still very interesting. I wish I could re-take that trip now, it was almost completely wasted on a seventeen-year-old. The memories that stand out in my mind are that the people of Iceland were almost all very attractive (blonde, blue-eyed and slender), that it was chilly, even in mid-June, and that the sun was still shining after midnight. At that time the drive we took from Keflavik to Reykjavik was mostly on a one-lane gravel road. We stayed in a very “rustic” hostel. I recall that our European electric adapters didn’t really work very well, and that I was reluctant to loan my hairdryer to my sister after she burned hers up.

I also remember riding a semi-wild rented pony over the tundra. I was a so-so “horseman” and we were all planning to ride together, but my pony had other ideas. Apparently he had been too long in the stable and wanted a good run. I barely kept my seat as he galloped over the grassy hummocks, and my skinny teenage arms were very tired of hauling on the reins by the time he finally decided to turn around and go back home with the other ponies.

Even as a stupid teenager I had the good sense to buy a couple of Icelandic blankets. One had to be washed once after a toddler threw up on it (it’s a little crinkly now), but I still have both of them and they were probably the smartest money I ever spent. Beautiful, thick and almost miraculously warm.

Kirby Olson said...

We should all move to Iceland.

The poet W.H. Auden said in his Letters from Iceland (written at the end of his life) that if he had it all to do over again, he would have liked to do it all over again in Iceland. He was in love with one of his blonde guides.

Danny said...

Hey Ann, you should check out Explosions in the Sky who have a similar vibe, though with a more conventional guitar-bass-drums approach. Perhaps you've already picked up on them as they're from Austin and have gotten a bit of visibility for composing the Friday Night Lights soundtrack.

M. G. said...

We spent two days there a year ago in October. To borrow from P.J, if they say an Icelandic girl has a good personality, it really means something, because they're all beautiful. And, they all smoke, and drink heavily.

It's a strange mix of America and Europe; you'll see a little mini euro car following an F-350 in downtown Rekjavik. And everything is very expensive.

But we also took some stunning photographs. No trees, hardly any plants over 6" high--but the amazing colors in those ground-hugging plants!

It's probably the only place in the world that, when building a new mini-mall, they discovered a fault line underneath--and still built the place. The tourist office has it visible through Plexiglass on the floor.