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From the Editor: “There’s no ice in Iceland!”

Photographer: Sarita B (Delhi), Rammohan Paranjape (Postcards), Jeremiah Christanand Rao (Easy Trips)

That’s what I was told as a child, with great confidence, by one of those Amazing Completely
 100% True Facts Mother Swear booklets you’d get for free with breakfast cereal. Being of a slightly gullible turn of mind, I believed this completely for years (cornflakes don’t lie), and shook my head in amused, well-informed wonder every time I saw the country marked on a map. Even when I read Journey to the Centre of the Earth, I smirked.

In reality, Iceland does have a smidgen or two of the stuff. And that, coupled with its bubbly (literally – it’s volcanic) nature and its remoteness, gives
 it the sort of beauty you only see in fantasy movies or surreal computer games. Even when it’s summer – and therefore time for volcano-baked bread – it’s a fascinating place, especially if you take the road that goes round Iceland’s periphery, leading you from waterfalls to lava beds to towns that look like they’re about to fall off the edge of the planet.

Which just goes to show that you shouldn’t believe cornflakes. Not about people, not about places, not unless you’ve actually been there. As another example, the cornflakes probably told you Ethiopia is all about starving people, not the Ark of the Covenant or helpful snakes or huge churches carved into the rock. It’s home to one of the oldest forms of Christianity, too.

Delhi, as cornflakes will no doubt tell you, is all about Mughal architecture, when, actuall, 
it has stuff built over some eight centuries, was traded back and forth, cursed, had lamps apparently fuelled by water, and, in short, has layers upon layers that lie hidden. You will also be told that islands are only about relaxing in the sun with drinks called Flaming Strawberry Sex On Long Island Beach Shot With Extra Umbrella, and won’t have features like forests, hills, villages, or any kind of culture beyond straw hats. This is why cereals are not considered reliable witnesses in court. You can, however, rely on this magazine to tell you the truth. Always.

Also, if you’re trying to reach me and can’t, it’s because I’m busy marketing Lonely Planet Magazine India Cornflakes. Tagline: We know which places have ice, damn you.