Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bring me something from Iceland

Just a quickie.

"Bring me back something from Iceland!" members of my family invariably ask me when they hear about these trips. To which my standard response has become "Sure, which would you like, salted black licorice or rotted shark?"(1) Iceland doesn't really get souvenirs.

Oh sure, there are plenty of souvenir shops... they're all over the place. But their stock can be broken down as such:
  • 50% warm clothing from local brands;
  • 35% cheesy crap from China (Iceland oven mitts, Iceland magnets);
  • 5% postcards, calendars, and tourist books; and,
  • 10% stuff that actually feels Icelandic.
That last category includes "candle holders made from lava rocks", "statues of elves and trolls", "stuffed puffins", and "condoms with pictures of exploding geysers and volcanoes on them." I swear I am not making that last one up.

But it's that first category I find the most amusing: half of every souvenir shop in Iceland -- from the ones in Reykjavik to the ones situated near the awesome spectacles of natural beauty that are all over the country -- are full of warm clothes. Not clothes with the Icelandic flag on them or anything like that. Just standard issue warm clothes. In case you're not hearing the hidden message here, it seems to be "The next time you're cold, wet, and miserable, put on this wool hat and think of Iceland!" An inspiring message from the Icelandic Tourist Bureau, this is not. ;-)

As I said, Iceland doesn't really get souvenirs...

(1) By the way, the first one is called Gammeldags Lakrids, is sold in the 10-11 stores in Reyk, and is like catnip to CCP devs. I've bought four bags to put on the table between the two summits and the contents of all of them rapidly vanished.


  1. Looks like they need a couple of schlock marketing geniuses to get them straightened out. Why in no time flat EVERYTHING would be crap from China. Just like all the tourist-y souvenir shops here in the States. Maybe that marketeer from EA, you know, the one who's currently EVE's Senior Producer, maybe he could moonlight for the Icelandic Tourist Bureau. Cheap plastic Rifters everywhere! Oh wait...

  2. Confirming the existence of said condoms. Saw them on my solo trek out just now, had to hold in a laugh, and almost bought one for novelty purposes.

    That said I suspect it'd be like any city, really - hit the non-tourist stores when they're open (eg not on the weekend) or get out away from the center of the city, and you might find more things that are more interesting.

  3. The brightly lit shop windows with hundreds, maybe thousands of identically shaped but variably sized stuffed puffins, all staring at you with their flat, evil eyes are frankly disturbing.

    1. Now that's a picture I *need* to see XD

  4. My guess why all the tourists shops carry warm clothings would be, well, because they sell. And the reason for warm, simple clothes to sell well that comes to my mind is: a lot of tourists underestimating the weather.

  5. Replies
    1. It's an acquired taste, but once you acquire the taste, it's permanent.

  6. bought the missus one of those "icelandic killer sheep" tshirts.

    bought it outta lack for better ideas but she loves it

  7. Remember some of us tourists come from places where you cannot buy warm clothing. Woolly jumpers and big coats are not very popular in the desert! Of course us Fanfest attendees don't worry about warm clothing as we've all got our "beer jackets" on ;)

  8. Well, there's always this stuff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenniv%C3%ADn

  9. I bring a bunch of people yule lads ornaments. They are awesome

  10. Iceland is also famous for its yarn, which my grandmother reminds me every time I go.

  11. That sounds like decent souvenirs tbh. You should see the crap they get tourists to buy here in Amsterdam..


  12. Buy them the Trolls! They have a great story behind them!

  13. Icelandic jumpers made from hand-spun wool grown on Icelandic sheep!


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