For this week's Travel Tuesday we will visit Iceland. To many Iceland may be seem like a cold country at the top of the north Atlantic, but it is a beautiful country with active geothermal activity. Fun fact: English adopted the word geyser from Icelandic. Several movies have been filmed in Iceland to take advantage of the unique scenery, and those who hunt the northern lights can find nights full of wonder on this northern island.

There are many more things travelers and curious folk can learn about Iceland by reading through the country profile in Global Road Warrior. Listed below are 5 more quick facts to get you started.

  • Climate: "Iceland is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean with a cold oceanic climate. Although it is located just south of the Arctic Circle, a branch of the Gulf Stream, the Irminger Current, flows along the southwest coast greatly moderating its climate. Iceland also lies in the path most frequented by North Atlantic depressions, which track across the country in an easterly direction throughout the year. This can create unpredictable and highly changeable weather conditions in any season. From a climatic perspective there are two distinct seasons, which are also referred to as light and dark."
  • Spoken Languages: "Icelandic is the official language of Iceland, where it is spoken by 93 percent of the population. Mandatory study of English and at least one Scandinavian language is compulsory in public schools, making knowledge of these languages widespread. As the language of the former ruling class, Danish is particularly familiar. Additionally, students may learn French, German, or Spanish."
  • Sports: "Icelanders have one of the highest life expectancies in the world and are extremely health conscious. On an individual level, participation in some kind of physical activity is quite high and most people play soccer, handball, or golf. The popularity of the national soccer team and their successes on the international stage have greatly increased public interest in the game, and more and more players are moving out of the domestic competitions to join the international teams. As for golf, there are nearly 5,000 active members in the clubs and another 5,000 pursuing the game as a hobby."
  • Music Origins and Influences: "celandic music has been influenced by all of the Scandinavian countries, and at first listen it may seem as if Iceland has no music of its own. But the biggest influence on Icelandic music, and on the Icelandic spirit, is the land itself: vast wild landscapes of rock and ice and the tumult of sea and wind. This Icelandic soulscape and the mood of brooding melancholy it creates can be heard in the oldest rímur, in Icelandic art music, and in the latest productions of rock groups like Sigur Rós."
  • Hospitality Gifts: "When invited into someone's home for dinner, an Icelander usually brings a bouquet flowers in odd-numbered groupings for the hostess. A blend of colorful wildflowers (including roses) appeals to the Icelandic fondness for nature. Alternatively, the flowers can be mailed ahead of the engagement. A handwritten greeting card sealed in an envelope normally accompanies the present. One can also offer a bottle of fine wine or other liquor that will complement the meal, for most Icelanders like to drink alcohol. Local chocolates like Sirius—the national addiction—are welcome too."

    Language Learners: Icelandic is available through both Mango Languages and Pronunciator.

    Music Lovers: Visit our Freegal music service to explore more music options from Icelandic music artists such as Bjork, Sigur Ros. and The Sugarcubes

    Recipe Corner: For an example Icelandic recipe, try fish balls.

    These unassuming appetizers are very popular and have numerous variations. Typically a white fish like haddock, pollock, or cod is used. The sauce should use fish stock if possible.

    Recipe Serving: Serves 6
    Ingredients

    1 lb (450 g) skinned fish fillets
    1–2 onions
    2 1/2 tbsp (37 ml) flour
    1 tbsp (15 ml) potato starch
    1–2 eggs
    2–3 tsp (10–15 ml) salt
    1/6 tsp (0.5 ml) pepper
    1 pint (480 ml) milk
    Oil or butter for frying
    Instructions
  • Thoroughly mince the fish and onions together.
  • Gradually stir in the flour, starch, eggs, salt, pepper, and milk and mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  • Roll the mix into small balls and fry on all sides.
  • Variations
  • Can be served with a brown sauce, tomato sauce, or cocktail sauce.
  • If served as a main course, include potatoes and vegetables on the side.