If you want any information about Iceland, you can go to the Tourist Information. Up here they can help you with your questions.
The Tourist Information is named Upplysingamidstöd and is located at Adalstraeti 2. Their website is www.visitReykjavik.is.
Icelandic currency is in kroners just as currency is in Denmark, though the name is where the similarities end. I found using Icelandic currency to be endlessly confusing, never being quite sure how much I was really paying for anything (in US $ at least). There are somewhere between 10 and 13 Icelandic Kroners to 1 US $, so if you want to buy a sweater that costs $100 it could be anywhere from 1000 and 1300 kroners. I just gave up after a while. However, Iceland does have some of the most stunning and beautiful coins I have ever seen. All of them feature incredible artwork of sea creatures on the backs them, everything from cod to whales, dolphins to flounder. I kept a bunch of coins as souvenirs, though I have no idea what they are worth!
The Icelandic book of relationship by blood.
From the beginning of settlement here in Iceland only ca 800.000 Icelanders have been born. All of their names and relationship by blood has been gathered in a data-file which every Icelander has access to.
We Icelanders are crazy about genealogy and I remember how the older generation knew everything about how everybody was related. Now the younger generations only have to add their name and the name of another Icelander in this data-file and in a matter of seconds you get a list of how you are related.
We always say that every Icelander is related at least in the sixth generation, that is we have the same great-great-great-great grandparents. That is not the case, but comes pretty close.
Let's not forget about all the French and Spanish fishermen who were fishing here by the shore of Iceland. Many of their ships sank here by the shore and a lot of them were resqued by the natives here. It was a common practice to put them in bed with young women to get some heat back into their cold bodies - resulting in a lot of Icelanders having black hair ;)
Here is how I am related to the first settler in Iceland, Ingólfur Arnarson and the first settler woman in Iceland, Hallveig Fróðadóttir. Ingólfur Arnarson is the father of Reykjavík so to speak as he settled here in this then unspoilt place. This list I got from The Icelandic book.
Ingólfur Arnarson (844) Hallveig Fróðadóttir (850)
Þorsteinn Ingólfsson 890
Þórhildur Þorsteinsdóttir 920
Þorkell Þórhildarson 945
Ketill Þorkelsson 965
Haukur Ketilsson 1020
Yngveldur Hauksdóttir 1060
Snorri Húnbogason 1100 - 1170
Narfi Snorrason 1135 - 1202
Snorri Narfason 1175 - 1260
Narfi Snorrason 1210 - 1284
Snorri Narfason 1260 - 1332
Ormur Snorrason 1320 - 1401
Guttormur Ormsson 1345 - 1381
Loftur "ríki" Guttormsson 1375 - 1432
Ólöf Loftsdóttir 1410 - 1479
Þorleifur Björnsson 1430 - 1486
Björn Þorleifsson 1480 - 1548
Jón Björnsson 1520 - 1600
Árni Jónsson 1560 - 1655
Sveinbjörn Árnason 1610 - 1681
Gísli Sveinbjörnsson 1650 - 1703
Sveinbjörn Gíslason 1694 - 1762
Einar "yngri" Sveinbjarnarson 1727 - 1814
Ragnheiður Einarsdóttir 1789 - 1855
Soffía Vernharðsdóttir 1829 - 1869
Ragnheiður Helgadóttir 1855 - 1946
Þórdís Ásgeirsdóttir 1889 - 1965
My grandmother 1920 - 1995
My father 1942 - 2008
Laufabrauð - a special Christmas delicacy.
Before Christmas in Iceland it is a tradition in many homes to make this home-made Christmas delicacy called "Laufabrauð" or leave-bread. Families gather and make this bread together and that is for us the beginning of Christmas.
Laufabrauð is a papery thin bread made out of wheat, whole-wheat, sugar, salt and milk/water and some add cumin to the recipe. The dough is flattened and cut in a round-shape, then you make tiny holes in it with a fork and run a special brass roller through it and flip over every second leave of the decorations, which were made with this roller, and fasten it. You can make various decorations with the roller. The bread is then deep-fried and flattened with a special wooden plate with a handle a and voilá - a beautiful laufabrauð is made.
We have always used this brass roller (laufabrauðsjárn) but some families cut the decorations with a pocket-knife.
The first mention of laufabrauð in Iceland is in sources from 1736. It was originally made in North-Iceland and there was a special Laufabrauðsdagur - Leave-bread day, and everybody took part in it. One theory is that it was first made at a time when flour was scarce in Iceland. Another theory is that it was the bread of chiftains and later became the holiday bread for the public.
I add a link to a video of how to make laufabrauð.
I love this old Christmas tradition and we have had 3 generations in our home gather before Christmas and make this bread.
From the dough we also make so called "soðbrauð", thick deepfried rolls of bread, ever so fattening, but very delicious.
Hiking outside Reykjavik in Hveragerði
Unique geothermal area!
Walking trails around Hveragerði and vicinity are innumerable so everyone should be able to choose a trail according to one’s interest and ability. The Hengill area is a vast outdoor area where hiking trails have been marked. The hiking trails in the valleys vary in levels of difficulty and length.
A hiking map of the area has been published and it’s available at tourist information centres.
We bought the map from Reykjavik city centre tourism office where they also helped us with bus timetables to reach the place. We had wonderful one day tour coming back to Reykjavik for the night. We hardly saw any other tourists, the views were incredible, passing the rivers and climbing up the hills was challenging enough (not too hard!).
I can recommend this everyone in normal health condition - and if You are travelling during summer time, I suppose these trails are not available in winter... Remember to take something to eat and drink with You. It is great to have the lunch in remote nature next to hot springs, hills and rivers.
There is also a possibility to swim in springs, so take Your swimming suit and towel:)