This has been a very busy week. On Wednesday I travelled to Lewes in Sussex to stay overnight with a friend for our trip to Iceland from Gatwick. It’s a three-hour flight to the same time zone but it gets very dark very quickly. Airport bus and hotel shuttle were very efficient and our hotel, named after the explorer Leifur Eiriksson, was very close to down-town Reykjavik opposite the amazing Hallgrímskirkja church.

We walked everywhere as everything was within easy reach. One of the first things I noticed was that Rekjyavik  (a quaint and provincial town rather than a city) is very residential and individual houses intermingle with restaurants, bars and shops.  Quite a few of them look like shacks, made of either wood or corrugated iron yet they are very sturdy and well-preserved. Apparently it prospered and expanded during WWII, when as an ally of Britain and the USA, many agricultural workers arrived there to help with the war effort producing military equipment. Thus the unemployment of the depression years vanished and construction work began. Today the population is over 200,000 so forms the greater part of the Icelandic population as a whole which is not much more than 300,000.

The people we met were very helpful and there are very few cars to pollute the atmosphere. Pedestrians seem to have priority and cars stop in the middle of a road to let you pass.

Restaurants are expensive but if you visit bars during happy hour you can get a pretty good deal including food. We visited two art galleries and saw a wonderful Rodchenko exhibition of photographs as well as a huge collection of work by the very prolific landscape painter, Jóhannes S. Kjarval.

My general impression is that Iceland is a very democratic country and apparently enjoys the best gender-equality in the world. The prime minister is listed in the telephone directory and is always addressed with first-name only.

That’s all from ‘Pierinadottir’.