Iceland, Day 5

I spent my free morning before my flight on a 2.5 hour
bus tour around Rekjavik. We visited the national
museum , a big church, the “Pearl”, which is a
restaurant, snack bar and observatory atop the
geothermal hot water supply for the city. The
building stands on the highest point in town, and so
can gravity feed the home heating systems.

One interesting thing the guide pointed out that I
hadn’t noticed is that when you look across the
Rekjavik skyline, you see zero exhaust from any
buildings. No smokestack emissions of any kind. The
guide said if there is any smoke seen, the offending
source is quickly addressed. This makes for very
clear, pollutionless skies and is part of the Iceland
culture. I noticed that vehicles – even the buses-
did not spew out any noticeable exhaust, even in the
cold air, much unlike vehicles (my own included) in

With regard to population density, there are about
300,000 Icelanders on an island 100,000 sq.

Finally, I grilled the guide about the fishing
industry. He said that when the country went to and
individual fishing quota system, where the catch was
divided up somewhat like a stock in the stock market,
the larger companies quickly bought up most of the
fishing rights from the smaller boats. As the small
boats sold their quota, the processing plants they
supplied their fish to went out of business. This
caused a general migration of Icelanders from the
rural fishing towns to Rekjavik, where jobs are many.
He said the unemployment rate was under 2%. About 60%
of Iceland’s population now lives in the greater
Rekjavik area.

I flew out without incident. I’d hoped for another
bump ticket on an oversold flight, but it appears that
the flight the previous day – a Sunday – was oversold
due to the large number of college kids who came to
Rekjavik for spring break. I had an emergency row
seat right at the door, so it was easy on and easy
off. I lucked out again in Boston, where the US Air
ticket I was supposed to have flown on the day before
was cheerfully reissued and I got out without further
cost or delay.

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801