This Sunday will be June 17th! What does this date mean for Iceland fans? Time to celebrate Íslenski þjóðhátíðardagurinn! That is the iclandic independence day. Streetparty everywhere. One should fly over again and eat pylsa með öllu (hotdog with everything) at Bæjarins beztu (“Bæjarins best”). If only pylsur sausages would not taste so disgusting. But eina með öllu (one with everything) is tasty nevertheless, thanks to the onions.
1918 Iceland declared independence from Denmark, after they were granted home rule in 1874. With the referendum of 1944 the last ties with Denmark were severed. Voters were asked whether the Union with Denmark should be abolished and whether to adopt a new republican constitution. More than 98% voted YES!
And why the heck is it June 17th? This is the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson. He was the leader of the Icelandic independence movement in the 19th century. That is why his picture can be found on the 500 krónur banknote (and also in the watermark of every icelandic banknote).
While being already there, it would be best to stay at least until the first Monday in August when there is a reason to celebrate again: It is Verslunarmannahelgi. Literally this means something like trader’s holiday. Most of the people have a day off. And this long weekend is at least as important as independence day for the Icelanders. That is why there are music festivals, events and party all over the country, when the sun does not set (at least not up in the north of the island). People are traveling out into the wilderness to party, drink and have a good time with family and friends around bonfires.
I will now go to the Consulate of Iceland to ask where I can get Hákarl and Brennivín here in Vienna to duly celebrate this great weekend.
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At this point we bid farewell to Switzerland as participant of the civilized world: They are abolishing the freedom of press. We do not need it anyway. Where would we be if the police could be photographed by the free press while beating up people? No, this must not happen. Police must of course be able to do their violence unimpeded, that is more important than free press.
Yes, I am still learning Swedish. At least I am trying to. In the meantime our Swedish-class has the third teacher. The first one returned to Sweden after approx. one year. Then we had a hiatus of about a year. We managed to find another teacher, but she happened to find a job at the Swedish embassy and quit us as well. Now that we have had 8 lessons with our third teacher, my two classmates excused themselves for yesterday’s lesson, so we tried to cancel the whole session. Via email. Because we had no phone number. Unfortunately our emails did not reach our teacher in time and so she waited and waited and waited …
Of course she was very pissed and did not want to continue to teach us anymore. Then she discovered that this job pays less than what a cleaning lady gets. I hope we can convince her to continue. Learning Swedish is fun. And if we had to search for a fourth teacher, I would abandon Swedish lessons altogether. At least with this group.
In other news I received electronic flight tickets that state: “PLEASE EXCUSE ANY INCONVENIENCE!”
Before the flight? Which inconvenience? What will happen? Do they already have inconveniences planned for me? Will the airplane fall from the sky?
I will try and post a followup should there be any (non-major) inconvenience.
In the meantime I am listening to audiobooks. I have finally bought “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson which I wanted to read (or in this case: listen to) for quite some time. I have read his essay “In the beginning … was the command line” years ago and liked it, now I am going for the older geek stuff.
Book recommendations are welcome.
At this point we bid farewell to South Korea as participant of the civilized world: at the instigation of christian fundamentals South Korea removes examples for evolution from school books.
Airport security 2.0: Israel asks travellers to provide access to their email account. If you don’t do that, you’re denied to enter the country. WTF?