Euro2016 and the Icelandic Adventure
With the UEFA European Championship coming to its Semi-Final matches this Wednesday, the whole world is pretty much going bonkers over which country will bring home the cup. Normally, I don’t follow sports too closely (I leave that to our resident sports correspondent Andrew Mustard), but I found myself swept up in the Euro Cup this year for one very obvious reason: I was in Europe last week.
Specifically, I was in the tiny European island of Iceland, celebrating my honeymoon with a trip around the famous Icelandic ring road. Coincidentally, Iceland happened to be on a surprising winning streak in the Euro Cup, and that proud energy was felt from the moment we entered the KEF airport. With Icelandic flags and giant posters of their football team everywhere, not to mention the state of the city of Reykyavik the morning we arrived, we could tell some kind of major event had occurred the night before. Iceland had defeated Austria, 2-1.
Icelandic newspaper The Grapevine
But the most shocking victory (and perhaps the most shocking moment for the Euro cup in general), was yet to come: Iceland’s defeat over mighty England. In anticipation of this game, my husband and I decided to grab a meal and a Viking (beer) at the local pub in the small North-Eastern town of Egilsstaðir. We expected a raucous party, but were surprised to find the packed pub fairly quiet—they seemed to be in a state of shock at the events occurring on the big screen. A loud “Hah!” could be heard after the game from the bar’s owner, as it was announced shortly after that England’s manager had resigned following the shocking loss.
Although Iceland was in the end, defeated by France, they have won the hearts of thousands all over the world for their unbelievable wins over much more populated and haughtier countries. Plus, everyone loves a good underdog story. Their hilarious live-tweets of the matches don’t hurt either.
You can see the fear on our puny opposition's faces. They know the Norse hellfire that awaits them. #Euro2016— Reykjavík Grapevine (@rvkgrapevine) June 14, 2016
In my eyes, Iceland needs no sports victory to feel pride. Upon spending a mere 10 days in Iceland, I can tell you that they win the cup in the following categories:
Most Awe-Inspiring Landscape in the World:
Most Bizarre Landscape in the World:
The Country Where You Can Cross off the Most Bucket-List Items:
The Most Sheep Per Square Meter:
Iceland is really a country like no other. Actually, it’s like a mixture of ten other countries, as well as Mars, the Moon, and some other alien planets we haven’t found yet. There aren’t any words to describe it. In many ways it’s like travelling back in time a million years, because in these giant volcanic craters and gorges, you can experience first-hand how our violent our planet once was, and the power it still possesses to show humanity who’s boss. Although on the expensive side (once you get there—flights are actually pretty cheap these days), it’s a place that I know I will never forget.
Execulink TV subscribers can watch the Semi-Finals match between Portugal and Wales this Wednesday on TSN.