As I was looking over my posts and responses, I figured that I had a few thoughts and questions about my trip that may not have been addressed. First off, it has been an amazing experience. I am traveling with twelve teachers from across the United States. We have one representative from the Geological Society of America and a local tour guide, Helgi. Let me start with him, he is a hoot. A former teacher and a guide for about 20 years, he is the ultimate Icelander. Our group is so fascinated with him that we are composing a list of “Helgisms” - words to live by in Iceland. Of course, he is full of information of the country as well.
Our hotels have been nice, but definitely not American. We are comfortable but cramped. Breakfast in Iceland consists of fresh breads and cold cuts - yes, salami in the morning. Lunches have been on the road and vary quite a bit. Dinners have been fabulous. No shark - I really think that is a delicacy found rarely throughout fishing communities. We have had cod, trout, salmon, lamb, duck and chicken. Usually our desert consists of some type of skyr, their high end equivalent of yogurt.
Sleeping in Iceland has been quite the challenge. I knew I would have difficulties, but it has been harder than expected. Let me first say that I am spoiled when it comes to sleep - I require my air conditioning, ceiling fan, white noise, darkness, and a king size bed. In Iceland, air conditioning is an open window and what is a ceiling fan? With an open window, comes the outside noises including, but not limited to the largest collection of different species of birds in the world. We have a twin bed with sheets and darkness is non-existent. Between constant light and utterly no white noise, a good night sleep is near impossible for me. Eye masks are helpful, but barely!
The sights have been amazing. It has been truly amazing to realize how much the science of the earth has come to shape an entire country and its people. Through out time, Icelanders have battled glaciers and Ice Ages, melting and flooding, volcanic eruptions and toxic gases. It is not surprising the country is so sparsely populated.
The people here are also great fun. They do seem to have a casual attitude about life. I guess the fact that they are living on top of a huge hot spot in the earth that can go at anytime may influence that attitude. Everyone here speaks English and are quite friendly and trusting. They have a unique prospective on the environment here. Their ability to put a pipe in the ground and supply their country with clean energy makes it easy for them. They have discovered that this cheap and easy energy will attract European factories and plants. They are quickly finding themselves struggling with the issue of selling their energy for foreign use in their country. This leads to outside companies possibly harming their pristine country.
Today, we will tour the capital city of Reykjavik. We have spent most of our time in the countryside, so I am looking forward to seeing the urban part of the country. Then tomorrow, I will head back to the states. Thanks for the longer read!