48OE Blog  
May 24

Written by: 48OE Admin
24/05/2011 09:56  RssIcon

Iceland is back in the news. It is surprising how much attention a land mass the same size as England with only 320,000 people (population of Croydon) can attract! There are a lot of empty spaces in Iceland!
When we went to the island a few years ago, I had no idea how Icelandic business could own so many of our high street retailers. I could see nothing in Reykjavik to suggest a financial power house or any industry that was pumping out cash. They offered some of the best interest rates in the world and many Brits deposited their hard earned cash with Icelandic banks. It puzzled me.
A while later all was revealed when the financial crisis hit and low and behold Iceland was bankrupt, our savings were in peril, UK high street chains had to be sold in fire sales  and at least one Premiership team was close to collapse. I for one am not a financial analyst but I am certain no UK Banker or Analyst ever went to Iceland. It was all to plain to see financially that it was a House of Cards. The Icelandic people have suffered more than most as they too were taken in by the spin of the few.
There is a beauty in their volcanoes and this recent eruption will probably close air space somewhere. For me, that is no bad thing. We could all benefit by slowing down a little, taking time to enjoy what we have.
Iceland is stunningly beautiful and you can see some pictures in two parts of our Friends section. One Life Adventures organise off-road trips in this land of myth and legend. We can’t wait to go back.
This latest eruption at Grimsvoetn, Iceland’s most active volcano will be forming the world’s newest rocks within the vast Vatnajoekull glacier. This type of activity and the remoteness of communities make the Icelandic people special. They are very friendly and have to rely on one another. There is a sense of community and belonging, something we could learn from. Trust and dependability are essential in remote communities.
When we went up on the Vatnajoekull glacier the second shock was that my mobile phone worked. This was after a three hour drive when we did not see another living soul or house. This is in stark contrast with no cellular cover between Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames in the heart of the Home Counties!
The first shock happened the night or should I say day before because there is no night in summer. We stayed at the only small Hotel near the glacier which only opens for the summer months as it is in such a remote area. Over dinner we talked with the waiter, who spoke perfect English, asking him about Iceland and how he coped with the remoteness of the location. He was very knowledgeable and told us about the area. We then asked him where he came from and what did he do in winter when the hotel is closed.  “Oh I’m Polish I go back to Poland” he replied...