"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.
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.