Thought it would be touristy all day but the Arctic Circle seems to draw you in. Made it down for a fine lunch where I met up with Lateral North’s Graham. Did the tourist bit by going up to the church tower that looks over the whole city. It is a Lutheran church,Hallsgrimkirkja, which took 41 years to complete. The tower is as tall as it is because the church leaders wanted it to outshine the Catholic Cathedral along the road. Plenty of tourists about still, so much so that Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon all fully booked. Holiday weekend. As well as the wide lens view of the city I enjoyed picking out groups of colourful habitations.
I reckon Highland Council would never give me a job as a Planner.
It does however make you wonder why our housing has ended up the way it has.
Why did it go down the grey and white box route and why now does the new housing have to fit in with the grey and white boxes look. I am sure it would be easier to get through the winter if we lived in colourful and haphazard boxes rather than the uniformity that seems to be current across the Highlands. Mind you in Applecross at the moment even putting a uniform box up seems to be beyond the Planning Authority. Even with the mix of colours and styles there is an obvious plan to the place, so not advocating a free for all.
as well as the outside
was pretty impressive but you cannot help wondering about man’s influence when trying to preach a message. Does building impressive change people’s mind on a spiritual level? Prior to the church visit I made it down to the Nordica, the large Finnish icebreaker,
moored alongside the Harpa. http://arctia.fi/en/ship/nordica/ Waited 15 minutes in the raw wind for a tour of the ship. Consisted of a lot of stairs before reaching the Bridge.
and as so many people wanted the tour they had to restrict the numbers and where to go.
Evening saw us at a breakout session but not the chosen one. As a shy Highlander I stayed and after the first speaker found the next two very informative. Environmental Impact Assessor who “mediated” between business and indigenous Peoples in the Arctic Regions of Russia. Throughout the talk I became aware of the uncomfortable feeling that it was “beads to the natives” Sure they received some benefits like a nursery school or help with their infrastructure while the extraction of diamonds/oil and precious metals went on but it seemed a big price to pay for very little benefit. There was a telling photo of a quad bogged down in a swamp due to the tundra melting due to climate change caused by big companies extracting resources. I am no scientist and maybe there are too many leaps of faith in that last sentence. Telling question at the end was who pays the environmentalist.
Next up was rural broadband provision in Northern Canada and suffice to say that the problems are exactly the same as is remote Highland communities. As long as the world is driven more by shareholder/profit motives rather than by social/community ones we will be stuck on the periphery with slow or non-existent broadband speeds. I am not sure knowing that other remote regions have the same problems as we do helps but it does give you a broader outlook on the scale of the problems. Interesting to hear about the small indigenous Peoples promoting their languages through gaining large internet followings, so ensuring the language survives. This taking place against a background of a growing mono culture which is slipping into place across the globe, again with the influence of the Web.
So it was the Japanese night, not entirely sure their connection to the Arctic Circle but it was very enjoyable lubricated by copious amounts of bubbly.
We were a bit too polite around the sushi and missed the boat, only going outside in the corridor to sample a piece each from a very overworked chef who was just about keeping it together. Fine food and the evening finished with the now customary brisk walk home. Lots to think about and although not directly invited it is thanks to Nordic Horizons I am here, experiencing other people’s similar problems across the North. Impressive is a word I seem to be using a lot but it is not out of place and I reckon many aspects of life in Applecross can be described as impressive…..