Category Archives: Iceland

Book Review: History of Iceland

History of Iceland by Jón R. Hjálmarson

I read History of Iceland in December 2016

Iceland, that small island all alone up north in the Atlantic ocean. A country of vikings, sagas, volcanoes and geysirs. A country that almost took over the financial world before being dragged back down by the 2008 market crash. A country where a volcano grounded almost all European air traffic for weeks. And a country where one of the great showdowns of the Cold War happened, over the chess board that is. It might be a small country but it is a country with a long and proud history.

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Book Review: Endgame

Endgame: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Bobby Fischer by Frank Brady

I read  Endgame by Frank Brady in March 2016

Bobby Fischer still is of some fame today, thirty years ago he was known across the globe. And made Reykjavik and Iceland famous world wide too. A simple game of chess captivated audiences around the world, culminating in victory to the lonely American, taking the trophy from the mighty Soviet chess system. The cold war across the board, where the Russians always had been way stronger, was suddenly won by the US.

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Bokin in Reykjavik. A Second Hand Book Store

I visited Bokin in Reykjavik in March 2016

Bokin second-hand book store in Reykjavik is my kind of book store. The whole space is crammed full of books. The bookshelves are overflowing, books are piled on the floor, on the counter. A huge pile of books lie in front of the cashier. The books at the bottom can’t have been touched by human hands for years. The whole store has that old-book-smell. The smell is really strong here, there are so many old books. My only regret is that the best selection is in Icelandic. Their English section is a lot smaller, and the quality of the books not so good. This is a book store that makes you want to learn Icelandic.

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The Bobby Fischer Center in Selfoss, Iceland

I visited the Bobby Fischer Center in Selfoss, Iceland in April 2016

It was the game of the century, the lonely American chess player against the might of the whole Soviet chess machine. The Soviets had held the Chess World Championship for 34 years, and was not going to see the trophy come into the hands of this uneducated American. With the Soviet Union and the United States being locked in the Cold War conflict as well, the match took on a deeper meaning. It was the Cold War over the chess board, the government controlled Soviet chess schools up against a self-taught individualist from capitalist America. All eyes in the world were turned to Reykjavik at this time. All eyes were watching the two players battling it out over the board, best out of 24 games. As the reigning champion Spassky would retain the title in case of a draw and needed 12 points to win. As the challenger Fischer needed 12,5. One point for a win, half a point for a draw. Finally Bobby Fischer was ready to play for the World Championship title in chess.

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Selfoss, Iceland

While visiting Bobby Fischer’s grave and the Bobby Fischer Center in Selfoss in March, 2016 I had a few spare hours to kill in the town.

It did not take long to see all of Selfoss. A twenty minute walk, and I felt I had seen most of it. Through the town ran the main road, a wide road flanked by sidewalks and local business. Some fastfood joints, a funeral agency, a swimming pool and a florist among others. On both sides of the road lay residential areas, a few rows of houses before farmland took over. There was a football stadium, but no one were playing as I walked past. There also was a Bobby Fischer Center, a museum dedicated to the great chess player, in the town, but it would not open for almost two hours. I was unsure what to do in the meantime, tried to find a restaurant or a bar, somewhere to sit down

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Bobby Fischer’s Grave

I visited Selfoss and Bobby Fischer’s Grave in March 2015

It was a long walk to get there, across the wide, open fields. Only in the distance could you see the mountains, here it was all flat. No shelter for the wind, which was really strong here. Blowing hard against me, making it harder to walk, even hard to breathe some times.

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Book Review: Tales of Iceland

Tales of Iceland or Running with the Huldufólk in the Permanent Daylight by Stephen Markley

I read Tales of Iceland by Stephen Markley in May 2016

Ever since he, as a university student, heard Quentin Tarantino speak of Iceland, a country where supermodels worked at McDonald’s, Stephen Markley had wanted to go to Iceland. But as things always got in the way, it took a while to realise his dream.

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Prikið Café in Reykjavik

I have visited Prikið in Reykjavik many times. The last time was in July 2016

I had been to Prikið many times before, dropped by for a beer and some rest on my walks through Reykjavik, but never really seen all of it. Downstairs there are only a few tables, a bar, not many seats, and looks old, worn, a bit dodgy in a way. One small unisex toilet, a huge bar. Old wodden walls, a bit uninterested bartenders. Just how I like it. It is only when you see the amount of space upstairs that you see the whole place. Many tables, another bar, a large smoking area outside. Suddenly Prikið becomes much bigger. I remember being so surprised the first time I walked upstairs.

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When I travelled to Reykjavik to watch the Icelandic Football Team on TV

I watched the Icelandic Football Team play France in Reykjavik in July 2016

Just making it to The Euros was seen as a feat, when the Icelandic football team came second in their prelininary group and advanced to the play-offs to face England, the country went crazy. This small island nation, a population of just over 330.000, the smallest country to ever play a European Championship, was suddenly to play the great football nation of England. Icelandair doubled their prices to France instantly.

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Why I loved my Airbnb in Reykjavik with no shower

I stayed at an Airbnb in Reykjavik in March 2016

Most people, when they heard I had booked an Airbnb in Reykjavik with no shower, reacted with shock. What, no shower? How can you stay there? They wondered. I continued to tell them about the public bath right by the apartment, how I could go there every morning and have a relaxing bath. Most people were still not convinced. They could not imagine a place without a shower. I had great faith in my choice myself.

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