Linda Poon is an assistant editor at CityLab covering science and urban technology, including smart cities and climate change. She previously covered global health and development for NPR’s Goats and Soda blog.
It was addressed to an Icelandic “horse farm with an Icelandic/Danish couple and three kids and a lot of sheep,” and included a handy map.
So you need to send a letter, but you don’t know your recipient’s address. In today’s connected world, you might do a quick Google search, or opt to send an email instead. But one tourist looking to mail a letter to Iceland found an old-school solution: Draw a map on the envelope.
First reported in May by the Icelandic news site Skessuhorn, the letter is making its way back into the news thanks to a recent post on Reddit. Rebecca Cathrine Kaadu Ostenfeld lives on a farm in Búðardalur, Iceland, with her husband and three children. Her farm, which doubles as a mini zoo, according to its Facebook page, attracts a handful of tourists each year.
One of them, not knowing the farm’s address or Ostenfeld’s name, made their best attempt to provide the local mail carrier with as much information as they had.
Under “country,” they wrote Iceland. Under “city,” Búðardalur. Then, they got (sort of) specific with the recipient’s address: “A horse farm with an Icelandic/Danish couple and three kids and a lot of sheep!” They added that the Danish woman works at a supermarket.
In case that wasn’t quite enough information to get the letter where it was going, the clever sender drew a map on the envelope, with a red dot pinpointing its destination—near a body of water called Hvammsfjörður and off Route 590. To the internet’s (and reportedly, Ostenfeld’s) surprise, the letter made it, proving, as Skessuhorn put it, that “anything is possible in Iceland.”