The Iceland Guide

Companion websites

The Globe Travel Bookshop
This site gives access to numerous online bookshops around the world that sell travel books. There are also links to second-hand bookshops and to publishers

The Globe Travel Shop
Accommodation and transport around the globe. And lots more interesting things!

The Globe Travel Guide
Illustrated travel articles about various countries, including France, Iceland, Scotland and the USA.

The Scotland Guide
Illustrated encyclopaedia articles on Scotland. At present there are over 200 articles about Glasgow, the country`s biggest city. The articles are based on the guidebook The Glasgow Guide.



Books by David Williams
These include travel guides to Iceland and Scotland.

The land and the people

The Icelanders: Traditional living conditions

Any attempt to describe the modern–day Icelanders must take as its starting point the astonishing transformation their everyday life and society has undergone in the twentieth century. It is no more than two generations since they emerged from six centuries of oppression by foreign powers and resultant destitution. During those two generations Icelandic society has developed from a near-mediaeval existence to its present–day, outward–looking prosperity.

The dawning of the twentieth century saw the Icelanders living in conditions that had changed little since 1100. Icelandic society was overwhelmingly rural, as Reykjavík and Akureyri had not yet started to grow and begin their domination of economic life. On the farms the lack of natural building materials such as workable stone, wood or slate, meant that the houses had to be made of roughly–hewn lava blocks and turf. The farmhouses were single–storey affairs with low roofs made from planks (often driftwood), birch bark and turf. Sometimes a number of these hovels were placed side by side, joined by an interconnecting passageway, with earth piled up around the walls to keep out the bitterly cold winds. The family's living quarters consisted of a single room which served as kitchen, workplace and bedroom; there would be a fire in this single small room, the smoke filling its damp corners before rising through a hole in the roof. Some of these old buildings still survive, usually as farm outhouses, while others have been preserved as museums.

What`s in the website ?


The land and the people

The first explorers
The Age of the Settlement
The conversion to Christianity
The discovery of Greenland and America
The collapse of the Commonwealth
The Dark Ages
The nineteenth century
The twentieth century
Culture in the Icelandic environment
Old Icelandic literature
Eddic and skaldic poetry
The Sagas
Later literature
Modern literature
Painting, sculpture and music
The Icelanders
Traditional living conditions
The seasons
Changes in the modern world
Independent minds
Superstition, morality and the media
The land
On the edge of Europe
The shape of the land
The volcanoes
The glaciers
The natural world
The climate
The economy and infrastructure
Industry and energy