Iceland, the land of ice and fire, counted 350,710 inhabitants in 2016. The crazy thing is that, last summer, Iceland hosted 2 million tourists. Why are there so many people willing to visit this Nordic island? Here are some pieces of information that might interest you.
Iceland has a very rich culture and a breath-taking scenery which appeals to any travel lovers. If you decide to go, expect to remain speechless all along. You’ll see mountains, glaciers (Europe’s largest glacier is in Iceland), rivers, waterfalls, craters, volcanoes, geysers, geothermal areas, hot springs, lagoons, icebergs, black sand beaches and more. What is crazy about visiting Iceland in summer time is that the sky remains bright all-night long. Indeed, the sun rises at around 3am and sets a little bit before midnight, allowing only a few hours of half-darkness. Let’s just say that it can be a bit disturbing… However, if you decide to go in winter time, you are more likely to see amazing northern lights and the land covered with a thick coat of snow. Two completely different worlds!
Iceland’s traditional dishes include lamb, fish and skyr (a yoghurt-like cheese).
If you love animals, you can expect to see sheep and Icelandic horses all around the country. Watch the sheep while driving, they are free! Also, Iceland’s only native mammal is the Arctic Fox.
Sport is an important part of Icelandic culture. The main traditional sport in Iceland is Glíma, a form of wrestling. Popular sports are handball, basketball and football. The Icelandic national football team qualified for the 2016 UEFA European football championship for the first time. Thus the 2018 FIFA World Cup is very important to Icelanders (I’ve heard 98% of Icelanders watched the games of their national team). Iceland has excellent conditions for skiing, fishing, snowboarding, ice climbing, rock climbing and hiking. Iceland is also one of the leading countries in ocean rowing, Icelandic rower Fiann Paul became the fastest ocean rower. He has claimed 24 Guinness World Records in total for Iceland. Swimming is also popular in Iceland, as geothermally heated outdoor pools are widespread, and swimming courses are a mandatory at school.
I hope you’ve learned a lot by reading this article and that you are already booking your flight to Reykjavic! Besides, one thing that you have to experience at least once in your life is a relaxing moment in the stunning Blue Lagoon.
Signing up a birth
You might’ve seen my blog a few weeks ago about an Iranian couple who required an interpreter for the birth of their child. I’m sure anyone who has given birth or been a birth partner will say it is a scary and traumatic experience. You are hoping that everything runs as smoothly as possible, so a healthy baby arrives. Imagine being surrounded by healthcare professionals and not understanding them…
Luckily, interpreters are on hand to try and reassure the mum-to-be and birth partner with translations from the doctors and midwifes around them. The interpreters can explain what the midwifes expect to happen, if there are any complications. Same with the mum-to-be. She can voice her worries, feelings, pains to the midwifes. Though some things don’t need to be translated.
When you hear that cry from your baby, whatever the language, you know that for that moment, everything is ok. The baby is awake, and out! No interpreter needs to interpret a cry. It can be heard and understood in any language.
Well…. I’ve been watching more of One Born Every Minute (I have it on series link…). And another couple were in to deliver their baby and required an interpreter… a sign language interpreter! Both mum and dad were deaf and were delivering through caesarean. I was very interested in this birth as they wouldn’t be able to hear that cry from their baby… and with caesarean, you might not actually feel the moment your baby is born.
Delivering with signs
Mum and dad, through the sign language interpreter were able to voice their thoughts and feelings about the caesarean and went off to theatre to have their baby delivered. They hadn’t found out the gender of the baby and asked for the midwife to bring the baby around to them, so they could see rather be signed the gender.
The dad made a fair point. With sign language, everything is about sight and feelings – neither would be able to feel the birth due to the aesthetic, but they would be able to see the gender if the baby was brought around to them.
The interpreter did a wonderful job helping both mum and dad in theatre, and when the interpreter heard the baby cry, she immediately signed that over to the parents, so they knew their little one was born and was awake. You could see they were both overwhelmed when they were told, so their new adventure could begin with their baby.
This was probably a very special experience for the sign language interpreter as well! It’s not every day you get to tell a couple their baby has arrived!
Without this interpreter, the experience for mum and dad would’ve been unbearable. They were not able to understand their doctors, and their doctors not understanding them… Interpreters are needed for all sorts of situations in our lives – be it medical, legal, educational… the list goes on. Without them, the bridge between language would be vast. They are the hidden heroes of the world!
I still have a few more weeks of watching One Born Every Minute before my new adventure begins, so you might see another blog on this!!
Could you interpret a birth?
These days interpreters are needed for everything! As an agency we get various requests for legal proceedings, events, interviews, football players, medical issues… the list goes on. The range of needs for interpreting is immense. But what could you interpret? Legal can be a difficult area to interpret as you can be dealing with some very technical and sensitive situations. What about interpreting a labour? Could you do that?
I was casually watching ‘one born every minute’ (preparing myself for when I’ll be in labour in July!) and there was a Persian family requiring an interpreter for the birth of their child. It made me think, could I interpret something like that?! It is a special time in the parents lives and you’d be there helping them understand what is going on, and helping the doctors and midwifes understand how mum is feeling.
To give a bit of history of the family
They had two children in Iran through caesarean under general anaesthetic. They then moved to Britain and were learning English and became pregnant with their third child. Although, between them they could understand a lot of what the midwifes were saying, there was still a language barrier. An interpreter was needed to help the labour run smoothly.
They were planning on having a caesarean for the 3rd child, but unlike in Iran, we do not use general anaesthetic for the procedure. As you can imagine the woman was a little worried about being awake for the procedure. The interpreter was there to help them understand what the consultants, doctors and midwifes needed the mum and dad to understand, along with the mum being able to explain how she feels and what was happening with her.
From a language point of view, the conversation would’ve been easy for any medical trained interpreter to assist with. The difficult part for the interpreter would’ve to be present during what it a very special and unique time for the parents. Especially considering in Iran the fathers are not normally allowed to be present for the births.
Sometimes we forget how vast a profession interpreting can be. On the news we only see interpreters in a legal point of view, but there are so many areas of life where interpreters are needed. So, my question is: what could you interpret? At Lingua Translations we aim to find the best suited interpreter for of our clients. Could you interpret something as unique as a labour?
Europe, the UK’s doorstep, but not for much longer
Are you like me? Comfortable being first off, a British citizen and secondly, a European? Knowing that Europe is right on your doorstep, always going to be there. One of those places you’ll eventually make it to but before that time comes, you’re way too excited by the bigger, further undoubtedly incredible countries, cities and landmarks of the world. Well, time’s up I’m afraid. Yep, time to stop the gallivanting to the other side of the world and time to buy a quick and easy flight to Europe this summer. Time is ticking and it’s quite frankly your last chance to travel in simplicity and more importantly, stress-free around all the extraordinary European countries that you’ve always taken for granted.
Not so simple trip anymore?
Brexit – that dreaded word. The word that must not be said. Well at least in my opinion anyway (but that’s another blog, for another time!). We are so very close to being stripped of our entitlement to travel anywhere in the EU and instead, become ‘third country nationals’ with no automatic right of admission. 2019 could see the introduction of ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) in the aim of strengthening the EU’s external borders. Once Britain leaves the EU, UK citizens will be covered by the same rules as, for example, Americans and Australians. Each traveller will be required to have an ETIAS, a halfway house between unrestricted entry and the onerous process of applying for a full visa.
Don’t worry – this blog isn’t all about the future intentions of Brexit. It’s about something a lot more fun and that’s HOLIDAYING. And it looks to me as if all your holiday plans for 2018 are sorted. Check out my list of the top 11 European destinations you MUST visit this summer. Or any time the year, actually. Pack your bags, put the rest of the world on hold and set off to EUROPE.
So here goes, just like they do it on the television – the destinations on my list for 2018 are, in no particular order:
The Colosseum – Rome, Italy
Oh, yes. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And what’s more quintessentially Roman than the Flavian Amphitheatre? While its history may be brutal, the Colosseum’s structure is one to behold, built of concrete and sand, in its day, it could hold up to 55,000 people! It also takes the top spot as the most famous tourist attraction in Rome. Well worth a visit.
The Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
One of Paris’ most visited attractions, the Eiffel Tower takes the top spot of most tourists visiting the City of Lights. And, with the structure standing at 342 metres in height, it is hard to miss. The tower actually welcomes around 7 million visitors each year which gives it the title of the most visited paid-for monument in the world.
Sagrada Familia – Barcelona, Spain
Whilst Barcelona’s impressive Catholic Cathedral still stands unfinished, you can’t deny that the Sagrada Familia is pretty spectacular. Designed by architect, Antonio Gaudi, the cathedral has now entered its last phase of construction with the tallest of its new towers set to reach a whopping 172 metres! After 133 years in construction, if you’re waiting to see the finished piece, it is on track to be finished in 2026 which will also mark the centenary of Gaudi’s death.
Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa, Italy
Poor foundations it may have, but if this tower was up right it wouldn’t be as appealing, right? This is one human error we can certainly be thankful for. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a tourist hotspot, and you can be sure to see hordes of people trying to get that one picture showing them propping up the tower. Now safely anchored into the ground, you can even take a walk up the tower, crazy!
Brandenburg Gate – Berlin, Germany
One of the best-known landmarks in Germany, Brandenburg Gate, is a symbol of peace that was built in the eighteenth century, and it’s certainly something to look at. Originally, the designer’s concept for the gate was a ‘Friedenstor’, or victory arch, as we may know it. Through Berlin’s varied history it has also shared its existence as a political icon and a symbol of a divided city. Luckily, we can now enjoy the Brandenburg Gate as a symbol of unity. It’s certainly a unique and memorable place to visit during your time in Berlin.
Ancient City Walls – Dubrovnik, Croatia
Considered the most magnificent fortification monument in Europe, a walk around the walls of Dubrovnik are sure to be a highlight of your trip to this spectacular coastal city. Stretching around the city, the walls reach over 2km in distance. So, if you’ve indulged in some of that delicious Dubrovnik seafood, it’s the perfect excuse to fit in a post-lunch stroll.
The Acropolis – Athens, Greece
Mention an 80ft hill with a flat top and it may not sound overly impressive. Mention its name, and it suddenly becomes one of the most iconic monuments in Europe. The Acropolis, especially the Parthenon, are by far the most characteristic sights to see in Athens. A must on any trip to the city. It is considered to symbol the beginning of Western civilisation and the Parthenon was even dedicated to the patron goddess of Athens, Athena. Athena who is also the goddess of wisdom making it a real treat for culture enthusiasts and historians alike.
Duomo – Milan, Italy
An exceptionally large and elaborate Gothic cathedral found in the main square of Milan, the Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous buildings in Europe. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world and its dazzling white facade is definitely worth a photograph. It took nearly six centuries to complete.
Northern Lights – Scandinavia/Iceland
It’s cold and it can be expensive. But there is no doubt that taking a trip to Europe’s northern reaches with the aim of seeing the aurora borealis appeals to millions of us. Head far out to the wilderness as possible due to light pollution making the green and blue lights less visible. As well as the jaw-dropping sky spectacle – take the opportunity to go mushing, sledding and snowshoeing and savour the deep silence of the frozen landscapes.
Red Square – Moscow, Russia
Stepping onto Red Square never ceases to inspire. For starters, the vast rectangular stretch of cobblestones, surrounded by architectural marvels, is an imposing sight, right at the very heart of Moscow. This celebrated Red Square, 400m-by-150m, separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and now the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitay-gorod. The word ‘krasnaya’ in the name means ‘red’ now, but in old Russian was the word for ‘beautiful’. The square lives up to the original meaning of its name. Furthermore, it evokes an incredible sense of awe to stroll across a place where so much of Russian history unfolded.
Lake Bled – Slovenia
With its emerald-green lake, picture-postcard church on an islet, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops, Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort. Drawing everyone from honeymooners lured by the over-the-top romantic setting to backpackers, who come for the hiking, biking, water sports and canyoning possibilities.
And just to spoil you, here’s a couple of extra favourites:
- Venice – Italy
- The Charles Bridge – Prague, Czech Republic
- Pamukkale – Turkey
- Seville – Spain (for Holy Week)
- The Matterhorn – Switzerland
- Chateau de Chenoncheau – Loire Valley, France
- The Atlantic Road – Norway
- Tuscany – Italy
- The Alhambra – Spain
- The black beaches – Iceland
- Mezquita de Cordoba – Spain
- Versailles – France
- Ephesus – Turkey
- Pompeii – Italy
Raining Cats and Dogs
You might’ve seen my earlier blog about our fixations with weather. This got me thinking – are we the only nation? But more importantly, do other nations have some random way of saying its raining quite heavily out there. I’ve checked- Britain is not the only country to get heavy downpours – just a shame most of ours happen in summer.
So, here’s what I found!
Cats and Dogs is a very English way of saying its raining. Obviously, you could technically say raining cats and dogs in any language- but would people understand what you are trying to say? Here’s how some of the rest of the world would say it:
The Catalans have gone with something just a weird, but without the animal cruelty: Està plovent a bots i barrals (barrels and casks)
The French have a few variations with what they would say: Il pleut des grenouilles / à seaux / comme vache qui pisse – meaning raining frogs (bit of a stereotype there!), buckets and a random one, like a pissing cow…… Never to be outdone by the English clearly!
The Greeks went with the simple Βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα (Brékhei kareklopódara) – It’s raining chair legs. Just as bizarre as the pets… but where is the rest of the chair?
Iceland go with the more apocalyptic version of Það rignir eld og brennustein – raining fire and brimstone. Think I’d prefer cats falling on me than brimstone!
Korea seems to be one of the more sensible countries when describing very bad rain: 비가 억수같이 쏟아진다 – Rain is pouring down like a torrential downpour. Hitting the nail on the head there! No confusion!
Not sure how often the Spaniards would use this version but I found it interesting enough. Estan lloviendo hasta maridos It’s even raining husbands. When the rain is that bad, it brings husbands with it!
I’m Welsh second language – but when speaking about weather down south, I’ve never heard these versions, but they made me chuckle! Maybe I was hanging out with the wrong people! Mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn / cyllyll a ffyrc – Also known as It’s raining old ladies and sticks / knives and forks