Signs are very helpful things and we would do well to heed them when we see them.
Malbik Endar is one of my absolute all-time favorite signs, and you are likely to see a fair amount of these when traveling around Iceland. It basically means “Paved Road Ends”. You would do well to be certain your vehicle is capable of dealing with what lies ahead, or, failing that, simply turn your vehicle around and return to where you left the malbik you had previously been smoothly traveling upon.
I have traversed some highly entertaining terrain, in a tour bus, on ‘roads’ that were preceded by this sign. I was rather impressed at the ability of the vehicle to remain in one piece as it vibrated its merry way across the rather bumpy landscape.
Leaving the relative safety of your malbik behind can be a lot of fun, just be certain you, and your vehicle du jour, are up to it. There are many beautiful and wondrous sights to see if you are willing to forego some malbik in order to get to them.
Á Virkum Dögum 7:30-9:30 og 15:30-18:30 is fairly self explanatory. You can see a well depicted tractor with the international ‘NO‘ symbol over it. Do you see any tractors? No, of course you do not. Irrefutable proof that these signs are shockingly effective! Nary a tractor can be seen at any time of day, let alone during the hours listed.
I shudder to think what Reykjavík would be like if they had not had the foresight to put so many of these signs up all over town. We would probably all be stuck behind one tractor or another slowly making its way through the centre of town carrying a single bale of hay to some distant, and rather hungry, herd of cows.
The classic ‘Men At Work‘ sign, along with many other signs, as I have observed in my travels, has been given close attention to detail. You can almost see the laces on the man’s boots. Iceland has deep cultural roots in the field of art, and the road signs are not exempt from their passion for it.
Whilst your average American or British sign has a minimalistic simplicity that carrys only the basic message the sign was put up to convey, Icelandic signs aim to take you, perhaps, a little deeper into the meaning behind the sign. Sure, you can just rush past them and only absorb the bare minimum they are there to communicate, but you can also stop and admire them for the intricate and meaningful art they truly are.
Finally, the familiar ‘STOP‘ sign we all know and love. What’s so special about this, you might well ask? No bullet holes! It’s the little things in life.
I spent over two decades living in a place where it was normal to see bullet holes in pretty much every STOP sign you were likely to run into. I got used to it, as you do. So there I was walking down the street to the beach one day, and it suddenly dawned on me as I passed one … there … are … no … bullet … holes!
Signs are our friends, and I am taking this opportunity to acknowledge their contribution to our world, and most especially this small corner of it.
Bless Bless og Sjáumst!