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13 February
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Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland

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UPDATE:  This is one of the most popular post on my site here.  It seems that google has chosen the image above to display when users search for “Vestmannaeyjar”.  So if you’ve come from that search you are sondering about this particular island and less about the island chain.  First thats not Bjork’s house.  The above island is called Elliðaey.  Iceland has two islands by this name.  The island above is part of the Westman archipelago (Vestmannaeyjar in Icelandic) off of Iceland’s southern coast. In 1953 the Elliðaey Hunting Association built a lodge on the island for its members to use.  The lodge has no electricity or indoor plumbing. It does have a sauna. The water for the sauna comes from a rain collection system.

There are a few websites that claim that Iceland gave the island (and the lodge) to Bjork.  Well, it almost happened.  See the below from a 2000 article in The Independent (its no longer available online:

Title: Iceland balks at island freebie for Bjork

Author(s): Sonya Procenko

Source: The Independent (London, England). (Feb. 10, 2000): News: p15.

Document Type: Brief article

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2000 Independent Print Ltd.

http://www.independent.co.uk/

Full Text:

THE ICELANDIC singer Bjork may have put her nation on the map, but plans to grant her exclusive use of an uninhabited island off the west coast to reward her for her services have run into difficulties.

Earlier this week David Oddsson, Prime Minister, told parliament: “Bjork has done more for the popularity of Iceland than most other Icelanders. My view is that she may be given the use of this island [Ellidaey] as a royalty payment, as recognition from the state.”

But, amid an uproar in the country, the government has had to reconsider its generosity. Yesterday Mr Oddsson’s office denied Ellidaey had been sold or leased to the singer.

If sold, said a spokesman, it would be only to the highest bidder. Icelandic radio reported rumours that the musician was no longer interested in the island. She has neither confirmed nor denied reports and was not available for comment yesterday.

Despite her much-professed love for Iceland, Bjork is neither based there full-time nor does she sing in Icelandic.

Last year she approached the prime minister about living part of the year and building a home on Ellidaey, Mr Oddsson’s spokesman said. The state “might” permit the singer to live on the island rent-free or at a low rent, depending on “market interest”. In the event of a sale, she would not be given preferential treatment.

“Bjork is a very well-known person in the world, especially in the music world. She’s also an active player in the social life of Iceland … She is very focused on promoting her mother country. Knowledge of Iceland has risen dramatically since she began her successful career as a musician.” No one, he insisted, was queuing to rent or buy the two-mile-wide island. Ellidaey is one of two islands, along with Malmey, which Iceland may decide to sell this year. There are hundreds of islands, many uninhabited, off Iceland.

Source Citation   (MLA 7th Edition)

Procenko, Sonya. “Iceland balks at island freebie for Bjork.” Independent [London, England] 10 Feb. 2000: 15. Popular Magazines. Web. 24 June 2013.

Vestmannaeyjar is a small archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The largest island, Heimaey, has a population of 4,036. The other islands are uninhabited, though two have single hunting cabins. Read more about it at Wikipedia.org.

More information:

Internet:

How to pronounce Vestmannaeyjar

http://playingintheworldgame.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/ellidaey-iceland/

http://travel.spotcoolstuff.com/iceland/secluded-architecture/ellidaey-island

Further Reading:

Vestmannaeyjar Westman Islands - The story of the volcanic eruption of 1973 and the attempt to resettle the island. Has before and after photos.

Lonely Planet Iceland (Travel Guide)

Paradise Reclaimed - An idealistic Icelandic farmer journeys to Mormon Utah and back in search of paradise in this captivating novel by Nobel Prize—winner Halldor Laxness.  The quixotic hero of this long-lost classic is Steinar of Hlidar, a generous but very poor man who lives peacefully on a tiny farm in nineteenth-century Iceland with his wife and two adoring young children. But when he impulsively offers his children’s beloved pure-white pony to the visiting King of Denmark, he sets in motion a chain of disastrous events that leaves his family in ruins and himself at the other end of the earth, optimistically building a home for them among the devout polygamists in the Promised Land of Utah. By the time the broken family is reunited, Laxness has spun his trademark blend of compassion and comically brutal satire into a moving and spellbinding enchantment, composed equally of elements of fable and folkore and of the most humble truths.

Top Image from: Pixdaus: Popular Today Pics

Bottom Image from:  michael clarke stuff

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