The unbearable longing for London. A hypertrophic nostalgia for every fleeting figure evading the closing doors , every worn-out sign of the Underground , the madness , drunkendness, the unexpected kindness of strangers ..
An August weekend in Iceland -
There is an Icelandic expression ” everyone has a book in his belly “, in other words, everyone has a story waiting to be told. But is also quite literal: Iceland has the biggest number of book titles per population, and one in 10 Icelanders at some point in his life will publish a book. More than 800 titles come out every year and some of the best selling crime fiction writers ( as well as a nobel prize in literature ) come from this tiny country of three hundred thousand people,
Driving around the big ring road: A road that circles the whole country; it can be done (provided you are not too tired of driving) in around 2-3 days. It means exploring what is more like a continent than a country; crossing one way bridges and spending lots of time on gravel road – the roads in Iceland are made for 4 by 4 cars.
More than that it means crossing into the collective psyche of Icelanders, their past and their stories, reflected in their skies and their waterfalls.
55 percent of Icelanders believe in trolls and elves ” the unseen people ” – little creatures that live a parallel existence to humans. One old prime minister said that “believing in other creatures is a way to feel less lonely – we are a small nation living in a big country”.
As you drive you get often the feeling that something is strange and magical around you. We are used to warming up our water; the water in houses in Iceland comes naturally hot – it needs to be mixed with cold water to be usable.
99% of all energy in Iceland comes from renewable sources – and Iceland per capita is the biggest energy producer in the world.
Large expanses of lava fields – breath taking glaziers, amazing blue lagoons,
Night out in Reykjavik. – the Reykjavik 101 movie comes to mind. - a very un- Scandinavian feeling of rowdy , noise and pure joy of life ..
(and , economically, the biggest success story of a country the creditors and queuing to provide loans, and which was earlier brought to its knees by an economic disaster much bigger than Greece, but chose a very different response…)
Iceland’s President “famous” reply to the controversial question, “What is the reason for Iceland’s recovery?” is most remarkable
“We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.”