Corrugated Steel Buildings
Because there are basically no trees in Iceland and importing building materials is expensive, many buildings are made of corrugated steel which is then painted bright colors. These buildings look great and are unique to Iceland as far as I know. They give the city a very individual look. I liked them so much in fact I started to wonder how I could reside my house with the stuff. It lasts forever!
One of the coolest things I learned while in Iceland was how people go about traditionally naming their children. If dad is named Bob Ericsson and has a kid named Jim, his name would be Jim Bobsson. And if the had a daughter Jill, then her name would be Jill Bobsdottir. Pretty damn cool, but difficult at family reunions, I would bet. The best place to really let this set in is in the Old Graveyard on Sudurgata.
So you think heavy metal is dead? Not in Iceland it isn't! (Or in the rest of Scandinavia for that matter) Everywhere you go in Reykjavik you run into guys with hair down to their butts wearing Iron Maiden t-shirts, the likes of which I haven't seen since early 1992. Dig out your old Motorhead T's when you visit if you want to blend in with the locals!
Þorramatur - The old Icelandic food.
The period we call "Þorrinn" starts in the 4th month/thirteenth week of winter. Then it is a tradition to eat the food our ancestors, who didn't have a refrigerator, had prepared for the winter. "Þorramatur", the food, consists of singed sheep-heads, sheep-head-jelly, smoked lamb, blood-pudding and liver-pudding (like haggis), various soured meat, made sour in whey, like ram-testicles, breast-of-lamb, and seal-flippers. Then we have dried-fish, rotten shark, and beaked whale, cooked rye bread and rye pancakes.
The younger generation usually only eats dried-fish, rye pancakes, rye bread and smoked lamb out of the whole selection of Þorramatur, but there are exceptions to that (when I was a little girl I loved rotten shark).
"Þorramatur" is an aquired taste, so if ever you are visiting Iceland at this time of year, end of January-beginning of February, and somebody asks you to "Þorrablót", i.e. when we gather together and eat "þorramatur" or you go to a restaurant and want to try "þorramatur", you are hereby warned what you are getting yourself into ;)
But if you are up for trying something "new" here are the names in Icelandic and English:
Seytt rúgbrauð=cooked rye bread
Ýmis súrmatur=various soured meat.
Don't forget to bring warm clothes any time of the year here. Layering is the best way to go, but you don't want to be stuck buying your clothes here as the prices are extremely high.
Also, if you're planning on going out at night, I'd bring some nice clothes since the locals tend to dress up for the nightspots.