Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday, August 17th, Drangsnes, Iceland

Greetings!

Face it.  If I find surf, you're going to see it.  On Iceland's North Coast, near the town of Sauoarkrokur, some nice lefts peeled across the long sandy beach.  The 16-shot sequence is included in today's photo album.

But we didn't come to Iceland to find surf.  Why did we come?  Well, the trip was really all about going to Orkney Island to spend some time at a recent archeological project that you'll read all about in about a week.  But if we're flying over Iceland anyway, why not visit?

Two million of us decided to drop in this year.  From our experience, Germans, Spanish, Chinese, Italians, and French are the easiest to spot (hear).  There are tour busses, but lots of folks have opted for small caravans and 4-wheel drive SUVs to go on some of the rougher roads.

It seems like every sizeable farm has guesthouses, and towns have upgraded their old hotels into 3-star accommodations.  Old barns are now restaurants, with excellent local arctic char, lamb, and other meat selections (horse?).

  But you should come to Iceland for more than a comfortable way to see hot and cold rocks and water.  You should come to see how a country ought to operate.  Now, granted, no one has ever threatened to attack it, so there's no standing army (and very little defense budget).  It has a healthy democracy, that rocks back and forth between conservative and liberal parties in power, but still gets things done.  The taxes aren't too high, and residents get health, education, and retirement benefits.  There's very little unemployment, plenty of small businesses starting and expanding, and not much of a welfare state.

Yes, they're pretty homogeneous.  With 73% Evangelical Lutheran, and 94% native born, they also have a higher net migration rate than we do.  They're healthier (second lowest infant (and 8th lowest maternal) mortality rate in the world, and the 6th highest life expectancy) and 98% of the populace has internet.  In every major measure collected by our CIA, they beat us.

And they believe in trolls and lake monsters, and Norse gods, and celebrate their poets and writers and artists.  What's not to like about Iceland?

To see the photos taken today, click on Wednesday, August 17th.


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