Iceland with a prophetic viking

If you’re going to walk around Reykjavik, Iceland, do it with Jonas Thorsteinsson. A guide on the GoEcco walking tour of the city, he knows more than which Viking killed who, where and how. In fact, the only word to describe Thorsteinsson is “prophetic.”

I took his free walking tour backing June. The most insightful moment came when Thorsteinsson showed us one of Reykjavik’s oldest houses, which was then on the market for $1 million-thanks to the decimation of the Icelandic Kroner, the price has probably come way down since then. Thorsteinsson explained that Iceland had been caught up in a real estate bubble, with mortgage rates reaching an absurd 20 percent. Think about putting a $1 million home on your credit card.

“It’s not going to last,” he noted. “It can’t.” Remember: he said this in June 2008.

Thorsteinsson called it well. By October, Iceland was on the verge of financial destruction, because of a credit-fueled disaster. For tourists, the moral of the story is clear: take the GoEcco walking tour. You’ll learn more about the locals than you will anywhere else.

By the way, Thorsteinsson suggests that you buy a hot dog at Baejarins Beztu. I agree. The mustard has a hint of the same taste you’ll find in Oscar Mayer cheesedogs, which I happen to enjoy.