One of the fun things about planning for your next post is researching your new culture. I’ve even started a little Pinterest collection were I’m pinning all kinds of new things to see and do in Iceland. I’ve also come across a few interesting bits of art and history.

Apparently the Brits actually invaded Iceland, however politely, during WWII because Iceland was neutral, and they were concerned about German ships in the North Atlantic. The Brits eventually handed the baton to the Canadians and then the Americans.

One of the things the Americans did was build the Keflavik Naval Air Station in the early ‘40s. My great uncle was actually a Navy Seabee and posted to Iceland during this time. I still have photos that he took and coins from his collection, which I think is really cool. Unfortunately, the base (and embassy-friendly commissary) closed in 2006.

I haven’t watched it yet but there’s a 1996 Icelandic film called Djöflaeyjan (Devil’s Island) about a group of otherwise homeless families living in barracks abandoned by the US Forces after the Second World War that looks good…sad, but good.

Another really interesting-looking Icelandic film called Djúpið (The Deep) came out recently in 2012 and is based on the true story of a man who was the only survivor of a capsized fishing boat. The fact that he survived is the miraculous part as he swam for six hours in 41°F water to the nearest island.

“Reaching the shore of Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, he found himself at the most dangerous section of the islands coastline, due mainly to the waves hitting the coastal lava rock formations. When he finally got to land he had to walk across rough lava before he reached a town. When he arrived at the hospital, his body temperature was below 93°F, yet he showed only mild symptoms of hypothermia.” (Wikipedia)

The last pieces of great Icelandic art I’d like to share are by prolific painter Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval. He was born in 1885, died in 1972, studied in Copenhagen, and his work reminds me of a cross between Gustav Klimt and Where the Wild Things Are. Enjoy!

Lava at Bessastadir, 1954

Lava at Bessastadir, 1954

Skjaldey

Amazon Woman of the Mountain, 1961

Kiddi og jeg, 1950

Kiddi og Jeg, 1950

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