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7 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Iceland

Nobelle Borines

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Iceland is truly one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Millions of people travel thousands of miles just to see its amazing natural sights every year. So what do we really know about Iceland? There’s more to the country than just glaciers, geysers, and Game of Thrones shooting locations.

We have already covered Iceland in a list that included puffin hearts, midnight sunshine, and elves. However, there are so many awesome things about the Nordic island that it deserves a second look. Here are seven more surprising facts about Iceland.

1. The Last McDonald’s Burger Meal Sold In Iceland

You probably think you could find a McDonald’s in any corner of the globe. Although the country originally had the fast food chain in 1993, the last Icelandic outlet closed down in 2009. You can’t get a McKjúklingaborgari anymore, Bus Hostel Rejkjavik still has the last burger and fries sold nine years ago.

In case you were wondering, McKjúklingaborgari was the Icelandic version of McChicken.

2. Weaponless Policemen

Looking for a safe, peaceful country to move to? You might want to consider Iceland where the crime rate is so low that the policemen don’t bother with carrying guns. The country doesn’t even have its own army so if an Icelander wishes to enlist, they would need to join the Norwegian army.

3. The Unchanging Language

Source: Ian/Flickr

The English language is constantly changing, adding new terms to the vocabulary with current times. However, the Icelandic language has barely changed for almost 1,000 years. In the 19th century, scholars pushed for a linguistic purism movement that removed all foreign words from the language. This is why a simple McChicken was dubbed the McKjúklingaborgari which literally translates to “chicken bread sandwich”

4. What’s In A Name?

Did you know that Icelanders don’t have surnames? When a child is born, they are given a name then identified by the name of their father and the word “son” (sson) or “daughter” (dottir). The popular Icelandic singer Björk is also known as Björk Guðmundsdóttir because her father is Guðmundur Gunnarsson, the leader of the Icelandic Electricians’ Union, Rafiðnaðarsamband Íslands (RSÍ).

5. Drinking Water Straight From The Tap

You probably don’t need to spend too much money buying bottled water when you’re in Iceland. The tap water is reportedly fresh, clean, and safe for consumption. High levels of soil bacteria were detected in water wells in Reykjavík in January 2018. However, things have gone back to normal and Icelanders can still drink water straight out of the faucet.

6. The Great Geysir

Did you know that the word “geyser” actually came from a legendary geyser in Iceland? The Great Geysir was the first geyser to be mentioned in literature back in the 1760s. The Great Geysir (“Gusher”) was named for the Icelandic verb geysa, which means “to gush.” It is one of several geysers you could find in Haukadalur Valley, which is also home to Litli Geysir (“Small Geyser”) and the consistently spouting Strokkur.

7. The Trolls Of Iceland

Are there trolls in Vík? Locals will tell you that you could encounter the mythical creatures in the beautiful black sand beach. Legends say that the stunning basalt rock formations known as Reynisdrangar are actually trolls. It is believed that the trolls were trying to drag ships ashore when the sun came out and turned them into stone.

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