Here in Iceland, there’s a groovy system in place for wage slaves: labour unions buy cottages all over the country and rent them out to their members on the cheap. This means that virtually every Icelander has access to a cottage, as it’s mandatory for salaried employees in Iceland to join a labour union.
Consequently, cottage culture is deeply ingrained into the fabric of Icelandic society. Indeed, with the recent economic upswing in Iceland there has been a virtual explosion in cottage ownership, either by private individuals or unions.
Without much prompting, most Icelanders will happily tell you about summers spent at their grandparents’ tiny cottage. If the story is worth telling, the cottage will have had no electricity or running water – just a wood-burning stove and a river in front. And it will be awfully remote, too, tucked away amidst the moss and lava up in Heiðmörk, which today is one of Reykjavík’s most popular outdoor recreation areas. Amazingly, the cottage will still be there, within plain view of the city’s newest subdivision.
Today, obviously, heating and plumbing are a given, and no cottage worth its salt is without a large deck and an outdoor hot tub. Indeed, the ubiquitous hot tub is the absolute de rigueur cottage fixture in Iceland – whether for splashing around in the midnight sun in summer or soaking and gazing up at the northern lights in winter. This necessity is followed closely by the latest trend in cottage accessories: the separate guest house.
The happy news for all you foreigners is that the cottages are not merely reserved for Icelandic wage slaves and the bourgeoisie, but are also rented out to regular punters. In other words, you too can frolic beneath the northern lights in a hot tub and invite friends to their very own separate guest house. Have fun!