Oh to be alive after a good night’s sleep! Pillows, I love you. Comforter, I love you. Sound-proof walls, I love you. I love you. Everything is brighter and better on the second day of an international trip.
But before I get to the day, some random observations… (Writing on day four, now.)
- Iceland is smaller than you think. Total population? About 350,000. That’s smaller than Albuquerque. Almost as small as Santa Fe County. The entire country! Over half the population lives in Reykjavik with the rest scattered sparsely across the country. Big land, not many people. I think I will like this place.
- Most of the island is warmed and electrified by geothermal steam. Actually, ALL of the island is heated and electrified by steam. Then there is just gas needed for cars. It’s amazing to think of an entire country using renewable energy. If there were no cars, it would be a completely renewable system. I suspect as electric vehicles become more viable, the Iceland population will switch over. Also, I now understand why my brother-in-law wants to visit here. The infrastructure for all this is amazing. The buildings are warm without fail, despite frigid temps outside. Hot and cold water are moved in completely different pipe systems. And the tap water, sourced from the cold system, is clean, tastes good and Icelanders are very proud of it. Plastic water bottles are for tourists. ‘Cause they don’t know any better.
- I cannot read any of the Icelandic words out loud. Wait, no, I was able to say Husavik yesterday and I think I did it correctly. Compare and contrast with this street name:
- Despite growing like a weed, Reykjavik is still a walkable city. I heard one of the travel agents last night bemoan the fact that Reykjavik has changed so much in the last twenty years. It’s larger, more congested, new buildings are springing up everywhere, etc etc I used to be such a nice little town… Substitute in the name Santa Fe, Sedona, Santa Barbara, or your favorite tourist destination. I couldn’t help it. I had to say “Perhaps, but didn’t we help create that growth?” (As in “Aren’t we here for a travel industry trade show? Isn’t the travel industry part of what has fueled that growth? Isn’t tourism the biggest thing in the economy of Iceland now?”) He looked surprised, then chuckled and had to say “Well, yes. Oh, yes! I fully admit I’ve been sending people here for years. But now I send them out of the city right away. Because that’s not the REAL Iceland.” Remember that song by the Eagles about southern California? “Call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye…” An interesting subject to ponder. How do we travel to expand our sense of the world, get to know other cultures and landscapes, see what this world has to offer — without degrading the very places we wish to explore? I’m sure some in the travel industry are talking about this very subject. I’ll have to find them. And join in the conversation.
I offer you this picture, which is the very spot from where I’m trying to write. And pic of the representatives meeting with folks and my 15 minute meeting schedule today.
I have a but of a break in between meetings. So let me send my thoughts back out of the city and off to Wednesday’s tour out and about…