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Iceland: an obnoxious island, populated by delusional and crazy people

By Magnús Sveinn Helgason

  • Island of emptyness and despair A German traveller is equally unimpressed with Icelandic nature, culture and people. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

In a newly published travelogue, I‘ve left for Ertugrul. My Dream Journey through Hell and back, the German author Oliver Maria Schmitt describes his journey around the world, including Iceland. Oliver is not particularly impressed with Iceland. Everything about Iceland, including the weather, nature and geology,  food and culture, but especially the inhabitants, are blasted by Oliver as depressing, disgusting and obnoxious.

Equally depressing as East Germany
The chapter on Iceland, which can be described as, well, "refreshing", is published in the German newspaper Die Welt under the title “Iceland is as large and as dead as East Germany”. Oliver, who must have visited during the winter, describes Iceland as an island of death and gloom, filled with darkness and depression.

The natural beauty of Iceland fails to impress Oliver, who is disgusted with the stench of sulphur and the desolate landscapes.

Oliver is especially annoyed with the weather, which he describes as an awful, endless storm which alternates between rain and snow, something which would suck the will to live out of any sane person, but fails to bother the locals: “However, the inmates don‘t seem to care in the least”.

A nation of self-important idiots and whale-hunting retards
“Apathy is the predominant way of life, coupled with delusion, conceit and arrogance,” according to Oliver, who sees Icelanders as a bunch of self-important blowhards who celebrate idiocy, which he argues is “considered a gift from god“ by the local population. These annoying people “consider crankiness to be charming” and view “anti-social eccentricity as a sign of originality”.

This cultural retardation is due to millennia of “inbreeding and sodomy”: Those who attempt to escape, he assures us, are harpooned before they manage to leave the island.

As a result the culture of Iceland is characterized by nihilistic emptiness. The foul smells and desolation of Icelandic nature and the idiocy of Icelandic culture are perfectly encapsulated in the culinary tradition, which he summarizes as rotting shark and putrid hot dogs. But somehow Oliver seems to have gotten the impression that Icelanders eat actual dogs as well.

Reykjavik: A stagnant cesspool
Perhaps the darkest corner of this island of death, according to Oliver, is Reykjavík: “A bleak cluster of wooden huts and sheds made of corrugated iron. The blubber flows in the streets while the traffic remains stuck. Here, stagnation is a sign of progress.” The back alleys are filled with trash and faecal matter, the streets clogged with cars and binge-drinking idiots.

The "astronomical prices" in Reykjavík are also a source of annoyance to the disillusioned German traveller.

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