When most people think of facts about Iceland, what automatically comes to mind are freezing temperatures, lots of ice, and more ice. Weirdly enough, although it is cold, the country is actually hardly icy, just like Greenland isn't green. This amazing little place is unique and even quirky in so many ways that you can't help but fall in love with it (I know I have!). Here are just 7 of the numerous fascinating facts about Iceland that make it the enchanting, out of the ordinary country it is.
1. A Common Sight at Cafés That Might Surprise You
It's not uncommon, as a mom, to want to take a short break or catch up with friends and go to a café once in a while. But one of the facts about Iceland you'll find peculiar or even dangerous is that mothers sometimes leave their child in their stroller outside the café. This way, the baby will be able to sleep without being bothered by all the noise in the café, while mom will keep close watch on them through the window. Some of you may say this is crazy and dangerous, but the thing is that there's hardly any crime in this beautiful country. Police officers on routine patrol do not even carry guns!
Nudity is not such a big deal in Iceland. While you may find it strange to have to get fully naked and shower with others before bathing in a hot spring (still naked), it's an absolutely normal thing here. Imagine going on a team building trip with your co-workers, having a naked shower together, and then see them at work the next day! Of course, general public nudity is not legal here, so you can't just take your clothes off and go for a relaxing stroll in the park.
3. Incredibly Eco-Friendly
Did you know Iceland is one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world? And they don't even really have to try that hard. The country has a ton of volcanic activity and, instead of fearing it, they used it to their advantage. Iceland harnesses the geothermal and hydro energy to power approximately 80% of the country. Most homes here are heated by geothermal water, and they hardly burn any fossil fuels.
4. No Family Names
While they do have last names in Iceland, they are not family names. An Icelander's last name is created by taking the father's (or mom's) first name and adding a suffix that means son or daughter. So your last name will be different from your parents' and even your siblings', if they're not the same gender as you.
One of the most fascinating facts about Iceland and one that I absolutely adore is that polls consistently show that the majority of Icelanders either confidently believe elves are real and live among them, or they are unwilling to rule out their existence. According to popular belief, the elves are human-like creatures that have magical powers and live in rocky areas, being extremely protective of their homes and causing trouble to anyone that tries to disturb them.
6. Fancy Some Puffin Heart?
Puffins are adorable little birds with oversized beaks and black and white feathers. While you may find them cute as a button, in Iceland, they are part of the traditional cuisine. Puffins have been hunted for food here for centuries, and their raw heart is considered a delicacy.
7. Anti-Pornography Law
Iceland is known for being liberal when it comes to sex, so it may be surprising to find out that they have banned strip clubs as well as the printing and distribution of pornographic materials, and are considering banning Internet pornography too. And this move is not because of a puritanical or moralistic view on sex – they are doing it for feminist reasons and to protect children who might come across explicit adult content.
There are, of course, many more facts about Iceland to discover. Which one surprised you the most, and do you know other fascinating things about this beautiful country you might want to share?