Weekly Report 23.07-29.07

So far, this summer in Iceland can be considered relatively successful. Just to make it clear, the quality of the Icelandic summer cannot be judged by the temperatures but by the number of days without heavy rain or wind. If we look at the last few weeks, there was relatively little rainfall. This week though was the exception. The sky was entirely covered with clouds, and the rain didn’t stop for more than a few hours. Today(Friday), the sun finally broke through the clouds. Touch wood! Let’s take it as a sign of good weather coming.  

Today(Friday) begins the biggest music festival in Iceland, Þjóðhátíð. Traditionally the event takes place in the Westman Islands. The festival is part of the annual shopkeeper’s holiday, named Verslunarmannahelgi. Organizers expect the arrival of up to 15,000 people if the weather is ok at least. What’s cool about this festival is most of the places for the public are placed on the slope of a quite steep mountain (Icelandic interpretation of ‘That’s what an amphitheater is?’). The festival will last until Sunday.

Iceland’s popular newspaper Fréttablaðið published the results of a survey of 13,000 foreign tourists who visited Iceland last year. One of the questions asked was what attracted travelers to come to Iceland. The most popular answer was Icelandic nature and its unique natural phenomena. Only a guess here, but the second part of the answer might be related to the Fagradalsfjall eruption. 90% of tourists who visited Iceland last year also said they felt very safe during their holiday. Which nation representatives were the most pleased with their stay? The answer is the British and the US citizens. 9 out of 10 tourists from these countries were very happy with their Icelandic vacation. Almost 70% of the respondents said they would recommend Iceland to family, friends, or co-workers as a destination, so the general approval rate is very high.

Last Friday Sigurgeir Svanbergsson (Icelandic Wim Hoff) swam 12 kilometers from the Westman Islands to the Landeyjar. The Icelander crossed the cold Atlantic in 6 hours. Despite exposing his body to the extremes, after reaching the shore, he felt good, although he admitted that he pulled several muscles. His motivation to do it wasn’t only to test himself but to raise money to help children in Ukraine.

Magnitude 4.9 degrees earthquake occurred on Sunday afternoon in the northern part of the caldera Bárðarbunga. As a result of repeated recent earthquakes on the Reykjanes peninsula, the cracks in the Krýsuvíkurbjarg cliffs continue to widen. Please be careful If you plan to go there because the cliffs can collapse anytime.

Earthquakes are not the only indicator of an impending eruption in the Reykjanes peninsula.  The land around Askja volcano has been rising steadily over the last year. According to volcanologists, the land rising is caused by the accumulation of magma about two kilometers below the earth’s crust. If this trend continues, we could expect another volcanic eruption in Iceland after last year’s eruption in Geldingadalur valley.

One more vehicle got stuck in the Icelandic river. This time in an unfortunate situation were twenty tourists traveling on a large, off-road customized bus. The bus got stuck in the river Krossá on the ride to Þórsmörk in southern Iceland. Tourists and their luggage were rescued by Landsbjörg Rescue Units. 

What’s more expensive: parking a car or a plane? Visir.is reporters conducted a mini-investigation that proved that 5 days of parking in an underground garage is more expensive than 5-day parking of a small plane at the Reykjavík airport. The difference was just over 3,000 ISK(around 22$). 

Beach volleyball courts are being built in Selfoss. What’s interesting in that? Unlike anywhere else in the world, the sand on the courts is going to be black. To be precise, the sand will be transported from the beaches of Eyrarbakki, located in the south of Iceland. 

The word for today is “rigning” – “rain”. Let’s hope we won’t have to use this word too often next week.