Iceland Postcard #1

Skating rink in downtown Reykjavík [Photo by Mingming Shi]

by Mingming Shi

(Iceland Postcard is a new occasional feature at Over the Circle which looks at stories around Iceland for those interested in this-always fascinating part of the Arctic!)

Christmas Is Here, (Still) Accompanied by Covid

Christmas season has finally arrived, and so has the statue of Jólaköturrin (the Icelandic Christmas Cat). Locals and tourists in downtown are happy to take pictures and selfies with this giant shining monster. Another attraction nearby is the open-air ice skating, which I have not tried yet.

Decorations are up, lights are on, music is playing, and even the weather has shown some mercy (usually Icelandic weather is infamous to be fierce and changeable). However, the pandemic is not yet interested in vanishing, and not leaving us alone. Iceland is not able to be an exemption from the latest variant of the pandemic. Due to the recent infection spikes (522 diagnosed cases on 24 December), new restrictions have come into force, with a focus on number limits at restaurants, swimming pools and other facilities.

Do keep an eye on our furry family members who may get into trouble during holidays, especially because they tend to be curious about small things. A cat in Iceland was reported by Vísir to have swallowed a needle and a twine by accident. However, luckily the feline turned out to be fine after some medical treatment.

Reykjavík’s Yule Cat [Photo by Mingming Shi]

The Triplets 

For many, 2021 marked another year of staying alone, or meeting fewer people. However, this was not the case for a local family who welcomed newborns. A couple with new triplets arriving overnight in April this year may be more busy than government ministers, as at least the latter do not have to change diapers for other members in their ministries. With an older kid, they have four kids in total so far. What super parents!

Bónus Has A New Look

The logo of the local grocery brand Bónus, a pale pink pig, often gets the attention of foreign visitors for its hilarious appearance. However, this decades-old image has subtly changed its look this year, with a brighter colour and more symmetrical eyes. The concept of the previous icon was made to resemble a classic piggy bank, due to economical prices of the products sold at the chain.

Can you spot the difference? [Photo by Mingming Shi]

(Additionally, the opening hours of Bónus are also expanding.)