Iceland had lived up to its own stereotype: the geology is otherworldly, converting your bill into sterling is like rubbing soap in your eyes, and the weather swings from chilly to downright parky and back again.
The capital, Reykjavík, is a rather resplendent little town. I don’t mean to disparage the place but it’s far from extensive. It is low(ish) rise – maybe for obvious seismic reasons – quaint, modern, curious.
There’s nowhere that feels unsafe; the people are friendly in a slightly dour way and they speak ridiculously perfect English. The local street food ranges from their own version of the hotdog (yuck) to a fish stew with mash and a creamy-cheese sauce (delicious).
They do coffee with quality and panache and they have bakeries that give off a come-hither scent that is like wandering into a cloud of culinary pheromones.
It is not at all self aware, it doesn’t try too hard, it’s a little cheeky, stays the right side of antiseptic – there is some litter, some of the building sites are a mess – the pavements have a habit of disappearing, but the drivers are polite and give way to pedestrians
the place is well covered with cycle lanes though there are few bikes about (given the weather that’s hardly a surprise), and there’s a fair bit of street art and sculpture, museums and galleries to satisfy a cultured palate.
No cricket, mind, so not perfect….
I will fly home happy, happy to have experienced a unique country, happy to have learnt a little of a different culture, though as with all holidays, happy to be home.
I’m coming pooch, hold that lead….