Airport Security and Customs – When arriving in Iceland you may notice that the customs window is closed.
You may also notice that there is a single security guard standing next to a sign telling you about procedure for duty free.
Do not bother wasting the lone customs officer’s time with questions like “I have duty free, how should I go about declaring it?” He will hand you a pamphlet, laugh at you, and tell you to keep going.
Keflavík – Do not be alarmed that this area of Iceland looks like a desert on the surface of Mars, the rest of the country is quite beautiful. Why the Icelandic government decided to use Keflavík as their first impression of Iceland after the Americans left will forever remain a mystery. Accept this fact and move on.
Icelandic Parking – In Reykjavík, you may notice the unique Icelandic parking style. Apparently it takes a lot to get a parking ticket in Iceland, probably because their police force is always swamped with the constant wave of violent crime that Iceland is notorious for.
Showering in Iceland – Most shower faucets in Iceland have two nozzles. Ignore traditional logic in this situation. One is for pressure, and the other is for temperature. If by chance you turn the temperature nozzle up and you are surprised that no water has come out yet, make absolutely sure that you turn it back down before you turn on the pressure faucet. No one wants to spend their vacation at the burn ward.
Sunscreen – Use it. Apparently it is possible to get a sunburn in Iceland.
Botany – A little known fact about Iceland is the vast amount of dandelions that cover the land. In an effort to reduce the spread of this weed, all tourists are encouraged to engage in dandelion fights, using the biggest and strongest dandelions as whips. Such violence is endorsed if and only if it is documented through pictures and video.
Food – Try to be open-minded when it comes to Icelandic cuisine. Just because your dinner is half smiling back at you or is technically rotten, I assure you that it is edible.
Movies – For whatever reason, Icelanders do not like sitting through an entire movie without having a break. Try not to get upset when in the middle of dialogue, the movie shuts off and the house lights come up. Take solace in the fact that in 10 minutes, the movie will start back up again in mid-sentence.
The Ocean – People will try to tell you that there is a heated beach in Reykjavík. This is a lie. What they will fail to mention is that even with the warm water they supposedly pump in, the water is still less than ten degrees. Rather than waste your time in this “heated beach”, go across the way and test your might at the unheated ocean. If you manage to actually swim in it, you are a better person than I.
Parenting – Leave your babies outside so you don’t have to hear their crying. It makes them tougher anyways.
The Domestic Airport – Do not be alarmed if you have no idea where to go half an hour before your flight. The airport doesn’t tell you which gate you will board from until 15 minutes before your flight. Also, there is no security to clear whatsoever. Pretty awesome.
Alcohol – When at a bar, already drunk, and you feel like trying out an alcohol you have never heard of before, it is important to ask a local before buying a shot. When the local says “meh, it is alright” you should take that as “let’s get something else”. If, you decide not to heed their warning, you will get to enjoy Opal. It tastes as though Benadryl, Jagermeister and a Eucalyptus tree somehow had a bastard child and then fermented it in grain alcohol. On the up side, you will have clear sinuses for the rest of the night. Enjoy.
Theodore is a 22-year old 2011 Snorri graduate from Winnipeg. This year’s Snorri group arrived in Iceland on June 12 and returned to North America on July 22.