Viking Hunters

We journeyed far and wide, across many an ocean to Iceland in search of their infamous Vikings.

There’s something about the urban myth of tall, manly, blonde, bearded men that makes a girl swoon.

Viking explorers were said to have settled in Iceland in the late 9th Century. But were they still lingering about?

And thus, two Kiwis quest to find Vikings begins – of course at a bar in Reykjavik. We eye the swarms of modern day bearded men with curiosity.

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“Are you a Viking?” my friend Michaela asks the older bearded man seated beside us.

“Yes, of course” he slurs in a thick Icelandic accent emphasised by his drunkenness. So far, living up to the reputation.

He insists on buying us multiple shots of Icelandic Schnapps the true Viking liquor.

Michaela notices that our beautiful bearded barman is in fact pouring shots of Jim Bean and Vodka. Viking credibility is deteriorating rapidly.

We get one over him by convincing him I am in fact Keisha Castle Hughes New Zealand’s infamous Whale Rider. They eat whale in Iceland, so he has no issues with animal riding ethics.

We stealthily slip away to the other side of the bar to research the younger Norsemen.

They’re not overly tall, slim bordering on skinny, and don tight jeans, beards and lush long locks that give me hair envy.

These urban Vikings are surprisingly Hipster, straight out of a cool cafe that serves on point espresso.

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Michaela interviewing a Cafe Viking

We befriend a Norwegian Viking, he’s a brunette not a blonde but has the beard and hair down pact. We even convince him to get into costume for the cause.

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A modern day Norwegian Viking

He displays a natural talent for finding hot springs which seems like a useful Viking skill. We document our findings happily over champagne, but are determined there must be Icelandic Vikings lurking in the wilderness.

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We enlist the help of another huntress, Nicki from Seattle who embarks with us on the Viking road trip quest.

We circumnavigate Iceland over five days. We drive the Southern coast, the Eastern Fjords, through the Snowy mountains and the Northern highlands. We leave no waterfall, beach, glacier or hot pool unturned.

We even scour an old Viking village.

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And yet, there seems to be a severe shortage of not only Vikings but people in general. We are shocked to learn there are only 3.2 people per square kilometre. That’s even less than our beloved New Zealand deemed the Iceland of the South by locals.

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Maybe we’d be better off searching for Huldufolk – the hidden people. Better known as Elves, it’s claimed 80% of the population believe in them.

The Huldufolk are known for their environmental lobbyist stance, they whisper in the ears of influential individuals and have been said to help drastically reduce construction in Iceland.

I’m not sure Elves are quite a sexy as Vikings. Although no doubt we could be swayed. Time to head to the local cafe in search of urban Hipster Elves.

Ororlando

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Meet my friend Narcissus

Caravaggio's Narcissus

Caravaggio’s Narcissus

Narcissism goes way back to Grecian times, when we made stone sculptures to immortalise ourselves. As the Greek myth went, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a pool, and died of grief as he refused to eat, drink or leave his own reflection*

Rather sad, gotta feel for the poor guy. I’m sure we all can relate to feelings of thirst, hunger and unrequited love. If self-love hasn’t lead to death you probably thinking you’re winning, but times are changing.

Today Narcissism is defined as excessive admiration of one’s physical appearance with a craving for admiration**

In our modern world of online media, I can’t help but feel the line between narcissism and self-expression have blurred.

We all know at least one chronic Facebook user. We cringe and groan in annoyance as they clutter our news feed with a never ending stream of selfies and posts.

Since upgrading to an iPhone, my love of photography has grown threefold. I like to post photos to Instagram and Facebook. I would argue this is a form of self-expression.

I like to capture beauty, I like to capture fun happenings, and I like to keep any selfies to a minimum.

I did have a lapse in self-restraint last week after a visit to the hair dressers. My shameless selfie received a whopping 68 likes and 27 comments.

This has got to be my greatest number of likes in recent times. Even bigger than me meeting Orlando Bloom. I find this rather perplexing. People should be discouraging narcissistic behaviour, not encouraging it.

And do such postings mean I am subconsciously craving admiration and affirmation from the masses? Or is it harmless to share my curly mass of hair gone straight once in a blue moon?

I haven’t died of starvation staring at myself in the mirror just yet, so I may be okay. But it definitely leaves me with a lot of room for thought — I just have to hope that the room doesn’t contain a rather large mirror.

*http://www.echo.me.uk/legend.htm

**http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/narcissism

In thrall of the Bloom

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Meeting Orlando Bloom left me star struck to levels I’m embarrassed to admit.

Having worked predominantly in casting for 3 years you would think I’d be immune to actors and stardom. Particularly when my Spartacus job involved screening photos of buff bare chested men.

Unfortunately this was not the case.

My boyfriend and I went out in Wellington and who should we run into but Mr Bloom himself. They’ve worked together so he offered to buy him a drink. Upon introduction this offer was extended to me.

I looked at Orlando. He looked back at me politely. I continued to look at Orlando. The name of every single drink vanished from my memory. I looked to my boyfriend for support; he smiled back but said nothing.

“Spirit” I blurted out.

“You’ll need to say which spirit you’d like” was the reassuring answer from my boyfriend.

I looked back at Orlando. I looked at his actor friends that were also waiting intently. I started thinking what lovely eyes Orlando had, with an ever so slight twinkle.

Suddenly “rum” was the word coming from my mouth.

“Rum?” one of the actors questioned.

I too was thinking, “Rum?” (I don’t even like rum)

“I think she wants a rum” I heard Orlando telling the waiter in a lovely English accent.

Before I knew it I was drinking rum, and Orlando had dispersed into the crowd.

“I didn’t even fancy him” I proclaimed when recounting the story to a friend. She reassured me it’s okay, because he is in fact that hot. This made me feel much better.

It was the damn twinkle that got me. I guess that’s the so called “X-factor” that separates the few from the masses.

I feel confident that it would only be Orlando, Leonardo Dicaprio and Ryan Gosling that could induce this state of swoonery. So as long as I don’t encounter these men in the future my work professionalism is not at stake.