Iceland: Reykjabirgthjurdigsturik, Part 1

I can’t be sure, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion that Icelandic words are long as some kind of inside joke. Hey, we do it, right? Fugettaboutit. Whosiwhatsit. Thingamabob. So Bergstaadastaeti is probably some colloquial version of Downthattherestreet.

I’m going to join in on this clever Icelandic ploy. My new word is Reykjabirgthiurdigsturik. Literally “WalkingaroundReykjavikuntilyouarefrozen”.

I did great stuff while Reykjabirgthiurdigsturik , so it is not necessarily a bad thing. I cannot pronounce my new word. I can, however, now pronounce three words in Icelandic: saga, Husavik, and Kiddi. The first roughly translates as “history”. The second is a place name. I visited there on Saturday. The third is othe name of my delightful driver from today (Sunday). But Kiddi told me he often advises Americans or Brits to call him Chris or Siggi – both of which are easy, shortened versions of his full name. Which was, of course, utterly unpronounceable. I stopped chiding myself for being an incompetent American when Kiddi/Siggi/Chris assured me that very few people aside from Icelanders can say their words. In fact, it’s much easier for him if they don’t try.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I met Kiddi/Siggi/Chris today (Sunday) and I was Reykjabirgthiurdigsturik on Thursday.

It’s a very beautiful thing not to have to set your alarm for the morning. A chance to sleep in! Lounge around a bit! Take things slowly and saunter on down with ten minutes left before they close the breakfast room.

So of course I woke up at 5 am.

Breakfast at Fosshotel Reykjavik is surprisingly busy at 6:30. I’m guessing there are many folks coming and going from the airport, eating before long touring forays into the wide expanse of white nothingness, and then there are those annoying “morning people”. Oh, wait! I’m one of those annoying morning people! My internal clock must be catching up with the actual time here in Iceland.

I puttered about my room after breakfast. I wrote a blog post. At the appointed hour, I picked up my conference registration packet down in the front lobby. If I never said so before, the conference is the reason for my being here. I’m attending Icelandair’s yearly Mid Atlantic Tradeshow. Remember when I wrote earlier about how I love Icelandair? Well, that was not a paid endorsement. We fly with them on our group tours when possible. Sometimes other carriers work out better for our itinerary or locations. I just happen to like their small(ish) planes and good service.

Once a year, Icelandair brings together representatives from all its destination and connection cities and their respective travel-related services. Icelandair flies Reykjavik to Copenhagen, so there are hotels, museums, tour operators etc from Denmark here at the trade show. There are also reps from Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Europe, the UK, the US, Canada, Eastern Europe and the Far East. Then add in related professionals needing to access all that information from connection and destination cities: travel agents, tour operators, transportation coordinators, etc All those people are gathered here. Thurs is arrival day, with time/space to settle in followed by an evening event. Friday is an all day crazy meet-every-one-you-can (Hey! That should be an Icelandic word!) session in a big convention room complete with video screens, expensive display booths, full on swag, and business professional attire. Saturday offers a variety of full or half day tours for any of the attendees. Saturday night there’s a big hurrah dinner, then everyone staggers back to their rooms for a few hours of sleep before taking off back home. Additional, FAM trips around Iceland are offered as sign ups to take place before or after the trade show.

FAM = familiarization trip, typically provided to those in the travel industry at low or no cost so you will have a better understanding of your options/possibilities for clients.

Look at me! Learning the industry lingo! I hope Heather is proud.

So this day, Thursday, I was essentially free to do as I liked. And I liked the idea of a thrift store. (Or, for those of you in the UK, “charity shop.)

I found my first one just a few blocks from the hotel.

I walked inside. Here’s the first thing I saw.

Yes! I’ve hit the motherlode!!! Thar’s gold – I mean WOOL — in them thar hills!

Yes, I know this was totally set up to draw in tourists. Yes, I was falling right into the shop owner’s trap.

Gold, I tell ya! Gol– I mean WOOL! All knittered up awreddy and reddy fer wearin’ like!

There was also all manner of other treasure. For instance, this row of fur coats. Not “furrr” coats, like in the US. Genuine fake furrr, ladies and gentmums! Fur. Fox, beaver, goodness knows what else. Each coat is about $80.

Enjoy the price. You’ll not hear of anything so inexpensive for the remainder of my time in Iceland. The rest of the shop’s wares were the usual thrift store fare. Outlandish, sequined and bobbled dresses, crazy hats, striped dinner jackets – you know the scene. But those sweaters. Man oh man. $30 to $70 when they are $200 and more for handmade, Icelandic wool sweaters produced here in Iceland. Lucky for me, I already have one at home. It doesn’t get worn enough as it’s hardly ever sufficiently cold to wear it. Truly, I have no need of another.

So I bought a vest.

(Must interrupt this blog post for my favorite activity: sleep! More tomorrow morning…)


  1. Saw Heather today and Aleeta and Sharon for breakfast at Dolina (yummy comments all around) and then took H & A on a quick tour of Canyon Road which for some reason I insisted that they needed to see from Paseo to Palace before they headed to Ghost Ranch and Ojo.. Apparently my “tour guide” inner self was itching from reading all your blogs……..Enjoying them so. Jud


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