It is nice to be in a place where I didn't have to worry about people eyeing what I owned. A place where I didn't feel like I had to dress down to fit in. If anything, I could have dressed up more. Cost of living is still high. Food, clothing are still pricey. In line with other Scandinavian countries.
The first thing that struck me upon my return to Reykjavik was the increased traffic. It is a 45 min ride from Keflavik airport to the city and I did not remember so many cars last time around (more people moving to the city for work?).
The types of vehicles have shifted away from luxury German SUVs to Japanese (Toyota and Subaru, and not new ones). The sprinkling of luxury vehicles this time around leaned towards Range Rovers and Cayenne Turbos. Things have changed.
The second thing that struck me was how developed tourism was compared to 3 years ago. When Icelanders take on something, they Do It. The tourist infrastructure is impressive and so has been their recovery. They've managed it without bailing out their banks, something they're very proud of. The majority of the population no longer wish to join the EU.
Icelanders are so fiercely proud of their country, it made me feel ashamed I was not more proud of mine. And there was no time to wallow in the "economic crisis". They are so very present and focused, being there was like getting a shot of adrenaline. However, I was dismayed to find out they will be "getting rid" of a waterfall by damming it to create power for a new aluminum plant. Our Superjeep guide felt it was poor business.
The airport itself is undergoing renovations to handle the greater visitor loads. Visitor numbers are expected to be double their population (700+K) in another year. For example on our departure, they had 2 major transatlantic flights (Toronto and Boston) boarding within 5 min of each other from this small departure hall. That's at least 500 people trying to line up. You can imagine the chaos. They need to restructure the logistics.
One cool thing you can do on Icelandair flights is use your "Saga Miles" to pay for anything available on the plane from food to duty free. You will need your membership card, not just the number. A great way to use your miles. The card itself will cost $4 if you need a replacement one like I did.
This video may make you dizzy.
(should a picture appear beside the video, I see it too but
wasn't able to make it go away)
We couldn't leave the country without
seeing some of these fellas.
And I couldn't miss attending this concert.
Until next time,
one last look from above.
Urridafoss Waterfall, before it disappears.