All of a sudden it is my last day in Iceland.... *SIGH* What a stellar trip this has been! Travelling here by myself meant that I joined organized tours and decided to stay only for a short period of time - partially due to the expense and partially due to not having much insight to the country's culture. Knowing what I know now however, I wouldn't hesitate to rent a car and wheel around the country at my liesure! Maybe next time?
The Icelandic people are a unique breed - they are highly intelligent and extremely motivated. Everybody, with the exception perhaps of a very few elders, speaks three to four languages, and the unemployment rate of less than 2% can likely be attributed to the fact that Icelanders are expected to work and contribute to society starting at age 14. Daycare costs are reasonable and is available for little ones as young as 6 months, so almost every parent puts their children into one. And from that time on, when a child brings lunch and a toy with them to playschool or kindergarten, it all goes into a common pile and they are taught to share, all of it. Many of the native Icelanders feel that this is why there is very little crime - there is no need to steal a thing, because if you really need something, another person will lend it to you. As well, they say that they don't steal because they would likely be 'robbing from their own family'. The country only has 330,000 inhabitants, so there is a good chance that somewhere along the line they are related!
All in all, I think their general life philosophy is great, and I now fully understand why so few of them are eager to move away. It is definitely the freshest (is that a word??) place I've ever been, with the purest of pure water and a vast renewable energy supply which distinguishes it from every other country on the planet. And did I mention the Skyr!? You should Google that - it is almost the best thing I've ever eaten... Mmmmm.....
A few last thoughts about my experience: Iceland is hands-down the most expensive place I've travelled to so far. Yep it is. This 9-day excursion is costing me more than a month's salary..... Oy..... But it has been worth every single Krona. It is in the top two of the most beautiful countries (outside of my own of course! LOL!) that I have seen. The people are somewhat reserved, but I did meet and get to know some really great locals: Asta the fabulous city tour guide, James the Puffin expert, Saga and Fay the hiking guides, Karl the walking volcano encyclopedia, Simon the off-road king, Seo the crazy Viking storyteller, Ian the history buff, and the always entertaining Steini, Rakel, and Louis, from the gorgeous hotel that I stayed at.
Speaking of hotels, my Mom really really wanted to see pics... Eyja Guldsmeden is relatively small, but it is top shelf all the way. The staff is amazing, and the chain originates in Denmark, and organic is their thing - from the food they serve to the furniture throughout the building to the toiletries in all the rooms. Five stars is what I would rate it for sure!
I'm sad to leave - I've had an awesome time here - but home is good too! Summer in the Rockies is pretty hard to complain about. So until next time Iceland.....