Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Responses to Icelandic Delicacies

I was asked in response to my post on Icelandic Delicacies how they tasted and which of them I tried. I unfortunately did not get the chance to try to Puffin or the fermented shark meat. I believe the Puffin may have been "out of season" because there were almost no restaurants offering it in Reykjavik. I did, however, try Minke whale and monkfish. Both of which were extremely delicious! The whale had the texture of a very tender piece of meat and a consistency and taste similar to tender beef. I also was able to try the Icelandic hotdog topped with three sauces and crispy onions. These hot-dogs would not have been the same had they not been fully dressed. I decided while in Iceland, obviously, to not stick with being a vegetarian because of the traditional meat dishes that are served there. I went vegetarian for dietary reasons, not ethical reasons so this was not an issue for me. One comment made on my original post was a mention of being surprised that Iceland does not protect their sea life as they are so protective of the environment. Because of Iceland's location, their main source of food and income could only be fishing. Most other products, mostly produce, is imported into Iceland. While they do eat animals and sea life, Iceland treats all of these creatures very ethically and is extremely grateful for the sacrifices the animals are making in order for the local people to survive.

The Cod Wars

The Cod Wars occurred in the 1950s and the 1970s when Iceland and Great Britain began fighting over rights to fishing in the North Atlantic waters that surrounded Iceland. Iceland relies on the fishing industry as a main source of income and as food. When the government of Iceland restricted Britain to a 50 nautical mile area in 1893 and Britain ignored it, continuing to fish in these areas anyway, gunboats were sent out to fine them and confiscate their catch. After quite a few "wars" after that due to Iceland creating more restrictions, the UK and Iceland finally came to an agreement. Any disputes between the two regarding fishing zones would be settled by the International Court of Justice.
In 1972, Iceland increased it's fishery limits to fifty nautical miles. This started the Second Cod War in which the British trawlers brought in the defense of Royal Navy ships. After several months of fighting and one accidental fatality, NATO stepped in and resolved the issue. Britain signed and agreement to stay out of the fifty nautical mile limit. A Third Cod War ensued when Iceland again increased it's fishery limits to two-hundred nautical miles in 1975. After another several months of fighting and ramming ships and a threat from Iceland to close the NATO base located in Iceland, the British government agreed to stay outside of the limit without special agreement. The British government ultimately settled with a multimillion-pound compensation to the many Icelandic fishermen who lost their livelihood due to the wars. The settlement did not take place until 2012, over 35 years after the Cod Wars had started.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Healthy Skin at the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a natural geothermal spa that was created by pooling waste waters from a geothermal power plant that was built in 1976. People did not start bathing in the waters until five years later, and when the water was discovered to help treat psoriasis, the Blue Lagoon company was formed in 1992. The Lagoon is a huge tourist destination. The milky, blue waters contain minerals such as silica, sulphur, and algae all of which exfoliate and smooth the skin. There are "pots" of the mud located in various parts of the spa in which visitors can smear the mud on their skin. What many people do not know is that the Blue Lagoon is an actual spa that helps to treat skin conditions. In order to get a spot at the clinic, whose dermatologists and nurses treated over 6000 patients in 2005, one must first get a referral from a dermatologist, at which point then, a single room costs upward of one-hundred dollars per night. The clinic also promotes healthy eating and exercise as well as offering UVB light therapy, a practice used very commonly for skin issues, chiefly psoriasis. Below are photos I personally took at the beautiful Blue Lagoon.