It felt somewhat strange to just be in Iceland. It just sort of happened, although well aware that it takes so much to get these Gatherings of the ground. Unfortunately Lesley could not make it due to a bout of ill health. Everything went so smoothly and little effort after leaving the flat in plenty of time, then the subway, bank, bus and airport. Little consternation when last call for boarding came as we were strolling towards the gate. Not too worry as there was plenty of time. Spotted Nicola, FM, strolling through the airport and again boarding the plane. After landing we got on a couple of buses heading for Reykjavík and again Nicola on board. Amongst all the crush she still very pleasantly had a couple of selfies taken for a couple of Americans. She never even batted an eyelid when one of the Americans asked what her name was, and that was after the selfie. I like this photo taken at the Scottish Reception on Friday evening.
Only been here for a couple of days but have come across so many polite and helpful Icelanders. They seem so laid back and give you lots of time to get you where you want to go. From the bus driver who dropped us of at our accommodation to the guys at the whale watching office and the especially at the check in desk for The Arctic Circle Conference. The Scottish contingent has been organised by Nordic Horizons. http://www.nordichorizons.org I came as an unregistered hanger on and would have paid the full fee if I had to but as I was not planning more than the drop-ins today and again on Sunday it would have been an expensive trip. They could not have been more helpful and I had my badge printed out with the right country on it. Others had to change theirs from the UK to Scotland. Everything was done on time and we wandered up to our first event
where Nicola Sturgeon was taking part in a Q and A after a short speech.
I have to say that without the screen of the media presentation I was tremendously impressed with her erudite, passionate and informed performance. Even the Turkish citizen, who proclaimed his love for Margaret Thatcher did not faze the FM with his weighted question.
Off to the harbour after lunch,
you would expect this. But not before listening to an Iceland’s modified version of “Mercy” and an Adele song. Very soiree style.
First passing the huge Finnish icebreaker which was there as part of the Conference.
Cold brisk wind but a good antidote to the heated rooms of the Harpa Centre. There was a variety of boats
and only got into one conversation, albeit stilted as his English was not the best. turned out he was a boat builder and was interested in the longboat we were alongside.
Time shoots by and before you know it we were heading down the road back to the awesome Harpa Centre. Turns out listening to “The News Quiz” followed by the “Archers” and forgetting the time difference meant we had turned up an hour early, not as early as Maggie who was working off her first email and was puzzled there was no sign of anyone one and a half hours before the start. Met an Icelandic gynaecologist who had spent nine years at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital. She had introduced herself on the sight of the kilt and proceeded to expound on the wonderful time her family had in Scotland. Her kids continuing to learn English but with a broad Dundee accent. They are being pulled up for it as they are told it is not “proper” but insist on keeping it. Conversation revolved around Iceland now and seems there are problems here on the ground with ordinary working folk. Although there are signs that there is development going on all around
people are wondering where the money has gone and is another crash imminent. At least some of their crooks did jail time. Cynically speaking ours seem to get or keep their bought honours. The kilt has been brought out for the Scottish Reception. Wearing the kilt certainly has its benefit and kept catching sight of photos being taken. After meeting up with others heading for the Third Floor, a couple of glasses of red, we were at the Reception. Just a busy friendly, informative evening, and we were fortunate Nicola, when on the way in, headed for our little group
which had been boosted by Kirsty and her colleague from SAMS. Again selfies all around, followed by another short speech emphasising the connections that we all have. In closing wondering what advice we can get for our footie team. Towards the evenings close a Saami wandered up for a warm and inquisitive chat. He was a reindeer herder and was asking about hunting red deer. I am not sure he understood the controls the landowning elite in Scotland have over the “wild”red deer. Maybe a photo to follow. And after another glass of red it was home, a brisk half hour walk in the biting wind.