For one couple it’s a celebration of support and love, despite any haters online

At the end of August social media changed for Pálína Axelsdóttir Njarðvík. Without much explanation, she lost a few hundred followers at once. Her page, @FarmLifeIceland on Instagram, had over 40.000 followers until she posted an anniversary photo with her girlfriend María (shown above). The photo, which features the two girls in a beautiful countryside bedroom, had the caption “Today is our two year anniversary. So glad we realized we had a crush on each other because María is the best.” The lost followers led to the news being picked up by Visir and Reykjavík Grapevine.

Pálína and lamb Lilli.

Sitting in a cafe downtown while rain poured outside, GayIceland caught up with Pálína to get to know her better, find out more about life in the countryside, and investigate which hole under a rock these internet trolls crawled out of.

Did your following grow along with the increase in tourism to Iceland, with many influencers and photographers capturing the Icelandic countryside?
“I started the @FarmLifeIceland page on Instagram in 2015 just because I had so many photos of sheep that I didn’t want my personal page to become just about sheep. I thought my friends wouldn’t want to see that. So I thought I’ll just make a separate one. It sort of grew from there. I didn’t think anyone would actually follow but many people were interested in Icelandic sheep and life on the farm.”

Did you change anything about your profile after this loss in followers? Did you post more about María publicly?
“Well I had already had photos of María on my profile and mentioned she was my girlfriend in like Q&A stories, but I guess people didn’t really notice. I was asked once in a story Q&A if I had a boyfriend and I simply said I have a girlfriend. I did actually add a little rainbow flag to my bio on my profile since all this, just to make it obvious so that if anyone looking at it is also gay they can see it and identify with it.”

The only negative comment Pálína got from posting about her anniversary with her girlfriend was one profile who commented with a green puking face emoji, which she deleted. Otherwise, she actually saw an outpouring of supportive comments from Icelanders and other LGBT+ supporters following her page. Even in Skeiða og Gnúpverjahreppur, where the farm is east of the golden circle area, the residents and neighbors are supportive.

On the Visir article, comments are all encouraging with one person comparing the loss of her followers to Icelandi footballplayer Rúrik Gíslason’s loss of followers after posting a photo with his girlfriend. Pálína says that it may be a bit like that. She doesn’t want to generalize about who was following her and why they unfollowed, but it may be because they were dreaming of a “wild love in the Icelandic countryside” and thought Maria was maybe just her sister.

How did you and María meet and what was your journey coming out like?
“I didn’t really realize I had feelings for women until a few years ago. I knew it in the back of my mind but I didn’t really think of it much. I was like yeah if I find a girl I fall in love with I’ll just do that. It wasn’t really a big deal to me and I was never really in a closet. I just had this idea that I would just find a man eventually. I barely hit any walls coming out and I haven’t had to fight for anything. But I’m aware of the fight that other people had to fight so I could live like this, and I’m so grateful for that. And of course, there will be more fights, we’re always just pushing the issues forward.”

“I didn’t really realize I had feelings for women until a few years ago.

Did you face any prejudice coming out in the countryside?
“It was never really a struggle for me to come out, which I am fortunate for. I was just very open to the idea and eventually, I knew I wouldn’t find a man, I’d find a girlfriend. It just made sense when María and I realized we both had a crush on each other. When I first introduced my girlfriend to people it made no difference, everyone was just like ok. Very accepting, no big deal.

I only had internal stigma about my own feelings. I was always thinking that I would never tell anyone I had these feelings, but that was just my own prejudice. Not that I had a prejudice against anyone who was LGBT+, but I just thought I wouldn’t fit in. I didn’t think I would be one of them.”

What can we do to help LGBT+ kids growing up in the Icelandic countryside away from a lot of LGBT+ culture?
“Pride has to be like in your face. It really helps. Kids need role models and need to see people like them. I can relate to that in a way. I think the best role models I see in the community right now are María Rut and Ingileif with @hinseginleikinn. I really like what they’re doing.”

Did you hear much about LGBT+ culture growing up in such a rural area?
“There was no education in school about queer culture, no programming on TV to see myself represented. There were just so few women out and public that we could have as role models. One of the only Icelandic women I knew of at the time was maybe Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (former Prime Minister of Iceland).”

Pálína and María.

You first attended Reykjavik Pride as a child? With your father who’s a pastor?
“So before 2019 I had only been to one pride parade in my life, when I was 14 actually. I was in one short clip in Svona Folk (gay film series “Those People” or “People Like That”) going to pride. My father is a pastor in the Church of Iceland and was going to Hinsegin Dagar (Reykjavík Pride) and just took me along with him. So, I was never nervous to tell my dad I was seeing María because he’s a priest or anything like that. It’s good to know that I didn’t change his opinion on LGBT issues, he was already an ally.”

“When I first introduced my girlfriend to people it made no difference, everyone was just like ok. Very accepting, no big deal.”

After the Visir article was published Pálína actually saw a big bump in followers, about 3.000 new accounts began following her, most of which were Icelandic. So in a way, the loss of followers who didn’t want to see anything about her girlfriend was made up by local allies. “It’s not like I lose sleep over who is following me and if I have 2.000 followers or 40.000 followers. I have no problem with people who don’t want to support María and I unfollowing. They can go.”

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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