Andri Magnason interview English is an article by the Spanish writer in Iceland Jordi Pujolà, with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides, 10% of discount in all their excursions (push to see what you can do in Iceland)
Andri Magnason interview English
1. Is Iceland a dream land? What is the best of Iceland? What is your favorite area/place in
Well Iceland is a Dreamland in many ways. Best is culture and language and landscape. Worst is weather. Favorite place is a secret spot in the highlands.
2. Nowadays we are not used to governments planning long term projects for the benefit of the population, they don´t want other politicians to take the credit for their job. But according to the great book, movie and documentary Dream Land, in the 1930´s there was a government that planned a new system to provide Icelanders hot water and heating (channelling the geothermal hot water that runs under the ground) for a much cheaper price (economical and environmental) than coal. The project was risky and expensive but still makes life easier to its inhabitants in this isolated island of the Atlantic Ocean. Do Icelanders remember this achievement or just take it for granted? Who is/are the hero/es of this story?
I think we take it for granted. Almost everyone lives within one two km from the next heated outdoor swimming pool. If the weather is bad in January you can go swimming with the kids.
The first farm was heated with geothermal water in 1908, in 1926 the prime minister Jón Þorláksson spoke about the potential of heating the whole town, the prime drive was to save money as we imported all the coal. The Reykjavík heating system was developed in the 1930s without real comparison abroad, they had to invent quite a lot of the technology and and it operated from 1940 and in the 1960s.
3. Why a rich country as Iceland has still aluminium factories? Would you get rid of them if you
were president or first minister?
Iceland produces almost 3% of the aluminium in the world. They come here for cheap energy but there is quite some CO2 coming from the factories. They should be phased out in the coming years but they use 90% of the energy produced in Iceland so it would be difficult to shut them down.
4. Reykjavik is a beauty city surrounded but nature and unspoilt landscape, but very soon to see Hallgrimskirkja from everywhere will not be possible because the insane quantity of cranes. What do you think about this overbuilding of high blocks and hotels?
The building boom has some negative affects, they are building too high and not very beautiful buildings down town around the harbour. I have taken a few fights about preserving old houses and the old charm of Reykavík, also taken part in some competitions with architects, hoping to make more interesting houses.
5. Do you prefer summer or winter (in Iceland)?
It is hard to say, as a child I preferred winter. I love skiing so summer was less fun. That is an important survival element I think, to love the winter in Iceland. November is most difficult. January, February is best for writing.
6. What is your favorite restaurant and bar or coffee shop in Iceland?
It is most fun to go out with friends to Snaps, the food is fine but you always meet some friends and end up at an other table than you started.
7. What is the most shocking thing for an Icelander when visiting Spain? What
is your favorite place in Spain?
I have regretfully only once been to Barcelona so maybe I have never been to Spain if things go further into seperation. For some strange reason I have been 12 times to Italy but only once to Spain. I intend to go more often and explore. I really love Barcelona.
8. What is your favorite cocktail or drink?
I am not a big drinker, don’t even drink beer or alcohol more than once or twice every month.
But the last drink was expresso-martini, wisky sour and then perhaps some good local house been like Einstök.
9. What are your 3 favorite authors?
Traditionally Kurt Vonnegut, Bulgakov and Orwell. Icelandic: Laxness, Gyrðir and Kristín Ómarsdóttir
10. What are your 3 favorite movies? and bands?
Icelandic movies: Hjartasteinn, Sódóma Reykjavík and Rokk í Reykjavík
Favorite bands: Múm, Aiya, Björk