Category Archives: sayings

Icelandic sayings on Saturday – 9

Postcard courtesy of Landsbankinn Final saying in our series today – A forty year old can do anything Well, at least anything a forty-year-old can do.  Every language seems to have its own version of this phrase. “Life begins at forty” is equally true and equally paradoxical.  we embrave optimism and energy in all people […]

Icelandic sayings on Saturday – 8

Postcard courtesy of Landsbankinn The penultimate saying in the series – A nation knows when three know So never tell more than one person your secrets; preferably keep them to yourself altogether, to be on the safe side.  News and gossip have always travelled fast among the small population of Iceland. Especially as two thirds […]

Icelandic sayings on Saturday – 7

Postcard courtesy of Landsbankinn Seventh saying in our series of nine – They splash the skyr who own it. Laden with irony, this phrase actually means quite the opposite.  Synonymous with the English proverb about people who throw stones in glass houses, it acquired something of a cult status a few decades ago when an […]

Icelandic sayings on Saturday – 6

Postcard courtesy of Landsbankinn At number six, this week’s saying is- The one who has no brother is naked on the back. Quoth the hero Grettir, as he lay wounded in battle.  Taking the hint, his brother Illugi immediately covered Grettir’s back with his own shield, defending Grettir for the remainder of the skirmish. I […]

Icelandic sayings on Saturday – 5

Postcard courtesy of Landsbankinn The fifth in the series of Icelandic sayings is – There are many wonders in a cow’s head. Strange things call for strange metaphors.  Should you lack words to express your amazement at rotten shark being served as a delicacy, beer being the only alcoholic beverage banned for decades or elves […]

Icelandic sayings on Saturday – 4

Postcard courtesy of Landsbankinn Fourth in our series of Icelandic sayings – One wave is seldom single. Observe the sea for a short time and you’ll notice that waves come in series and sets, never alone.  Legendary Icelandic pessimism has applied this law of nature to misfortunes, never tiring of darkly enjoying the pluality of […]

Icelandic sayings on Saturday – 3

Postcard courtesy of Landsbankinn Third saying is – Everything is nice that is green. Origins of this saying are slightly obscure.  Was its inception fuelled by the desire for glorious summer during the darkness and discontent of winter?  The absence of vegetation in the seemingly endless black lava fields and lifeless sandbanks?  Or blissful ignorance […]

Icelandic sayings on Saturday – 2

Postcard courtesy of Landsbankinn Our second saying is – Everything is hay in hard times. For centuries sheep fed, clad and shod the struggling nation.  Survival depended on having a sufficient supply of dried grass to sustain the all-important livestock through long cold winters.  Spoiled or depleted hay reserves meant making do with something – […]

Icelandic sayings on Saturday – 1

Postcard courtesy of Landsbankinn The first saying is – To soak your head in water. Water is paramount to growth and apparently soaking one’s head in water for a moment or two facilitates fruitful thinking. Don’t forget to hold your breath though! I quite like soaking my head underwater – perhaps I should do it […]