We took a walking tour with a guide from the tourist information centre. I highly recommend it! It’s nice to meet a local and learn a little about what life is like in Iceland and it’s history. I also enjoy walking tours because while you don’t see as much of the city you get to experience it more.
I won’t be able to regurgitate everything he said but some interesting facts about living in Iceland that are pretty different is that they get all their cold water Glacier fed and all their hot water from the sulfur springs so their utilities are free! AND they can do crazy things like have heated roads (a dream for this Alaskan born) so no snow removal!!!
They pay a lot of taxes but they see where their taxes are going… and it’s right back to them! Free education through any degree, free health care, no homelessness (at least according to the guide) and there’s little to no crime. Sounds pretty awesome! Of course, it’s got a small population, is pretty isolated overall, and I have no idea what it actually looks like for those receiving services. For instance, I love the idea of free health care but know that’s not always the full story. But my blog is about travel and kayaking and family, not healthcare, so… back to Iceland!
Another fun fact is that they have their last names just be their dad’s first name then son or daughter (think Johnson; son of John). Some even have the moms name now, or a combination of the parents names. I remember my plant physiology teacher in college was from Iceland and explained that his wife changed her name to his when they moved to America but whenever they travel back to Iceland they got weird looks because it looked on paper like not only were they siblings but… brothers!
Also in Iceland they speak…speak Icelandic (go figure! And English), which is basically old Norse, so it’s the most difficult language to learn, wohoo.
After our tour we walked over to the whale museum but only got to see what we could from the bathroom area since they were closing but it was cool! Life size whales!!