I’ve just spent the last three months in Iceland. I had the possibility to explore the country, meet my fellow Icelanders, get to know amazing entrepreneurs, and experience amazing food and cultural events suitable for a country of millions.
But what struck me the most was one of the things that‘s most basic about the place: water.
Firstly, and I am not putting you on, Icelandic water is the clearest you can find, coming straight from the glacier, nothing added. You might as well drink it straight from a river on the country side because it is exactly the same water.
When I first moved to Copenhagen, I brought coffee from Iceland back to Denmark after my visits home. When it tasted different, I realized was that it wasn´t the coffee that much, it was the water. The water makes the coffee taste, and indeed, Icelandic coffee blenders match the beans to the water to a large extent. It was a shock and an important factor in my endless homesickness during my time in Copenhagen, where the water was filled with calcium and other taste-altering ingredients.
The beer in Iceland, the sodas, the Ice cream, everything benefits from the purity of the water and that is why some of the local ingredients cannot be transferred to other countries. They will never taste the same.
Swimming, and, more precisely, visiting the local pool is another watering factor in terms of understanding the Icelanders and their culture. The social hot tub is in the hot spot in the swimming pools around the country. Almost every tiny village has one, and in the capital you have more than one in many neighborhoods.
Not only is this privilege essential for the well being of the Icelanders, an endless source of exercise and relaxation in a country that is cold and dark for much of the year, it is saving the mental health and health in general of the Icelandic people.
Water is all around Iceland – The Atlantic ocean has been a main provider of fresh food for the nation since the settlers decided to take a chance on this island 874.
We have endless songs about the ocean, about the fishermen who provided food for the whole of society and also songs, stories and memories of seamen lost at sea, never to be found again, sometimes even half of towns would go in such a dramatic way in the last centuries, while trying to feed their families. My family included.
Much of Iceland‘s water also comes up from the ground, hot, steaming and sulphur-smelling. Attractions like Geysir and the hot springs are showplaces for Iceland‘s miraculous geothermal waters. But in nearly every home, hotel room and hostel, there are no water heaters, only water from a geothermally-heated source and a glacial cold source.
Water and ocean has therefore so many meaning for us the Icelanders and to understand us, a background on how it has and is affecting all life, is important to the visitor. In the meantime, when you are making coffee in Iceland, it tastes better if you are a little patient and start with heating the cold water for your coffee or tea. And by all means don´t buy normal water in the Supermarket. Better to fill your water battle with the glorious and free water that is available from the many taps around the country.
More info on personalized travel planning to Iceland on www.helgastina.com