After June’s 100th birthday party, we realized that ragweed allergies were just going to get worse (hot weather and lots of rain just kept the plant flowering and pollinating). Monday afternoon, i booked flights for Dallas and me to leave Tuesday afternoon for Iceland. We had actually wanted to visit Greenland, but it was too late in the season, snow and ice already moving in and tourist boats being pulled out of the water, so we spent 2 weeks in Iceland instead.
Iceland population: 339,661 Reykjavik population: 120,000 (200,000 in the Capital region) Iceland has a surface area of 39,770 square miles and it is the 108th largest in this respect. However, that harsh geographical landscape is one of the reasons why its population remains so low. Iceland has the lowest population density of all European countries at just 8 people per square mile.
We flew United Airlines, and as usual had stellar service. They have implemented a new strategy wherein they can know if passengers are arriving late for a connection and hold the next flight if it is reasonable to do so. We sat on the plane in Newark nearly an hour waiting for 15 passengers who would have missed the flight to Reykjavik since their flight was delayed by thunderstorms out of Houston. So, while the record for on time departure may look wonky, the record for getting passengers where they need to be will soar!
The first week was spent entirely in the capital city, Reykjavik. I was concerned that we’d be twiddling our thumbs for want of activities, but i was unduly so. To our surprise, there are oodles of things to do and see at a leisurely rate – even without booking day tours (which are numerous!) outside the city.
“Domkirkjan is Reykjavik’s Lutheran Cathedral, or the Reykjavik Dome and the bishop’s place in Iceland. It is located downtown in the capital right next to the Alþingi, house of parliament and together they form a unity of law and order in the country. The altarpiece and artwork inside the church are definitely worth the visit!”
We were walking around town and saw the announcement of a performance offered free of charge at this lovely cathedral. Of course, we made special effort to attend. Just lovely.
The flight on SAS from Stockholm to Helsinki involved a smaller jet and would allow carry on luggage weighing only 8 kg (18 lbs)! Mine was slightly over, so i put my computer in a handbag and transferred a few items (toiletries) to Jessica’s bag and checked it at a cost of about $50!
Helsinki, the capital of Finland is a city still trying to find its own identity after nearly 100 years of independence. Currently, the main parts are under massive renovation and updating in preparation for 2017 Finland centennial of independence as well as celebrating 500 years since Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door. With Finlanders identifying as 73% Lutheran this is certainly appropriate. Having been under Russian rule for several years, the architecture and ‘feel’ of the city still has that look and feel. Their history, however, reveals a tug of war between Russia and Sweden, and occasionally the Danes jumped in.
From 1906 Finnish women were also allowed to vote. Finland was the first European country and the third in the world, after New Zealand and Australia to allow women to vote in national elections. Furthermore in 1907 Finnish women became the first in the world to win seats in a national parliament.
Before the Second World War the main occupation in Finland was agriculture. Since 1945 metalworking, engineering and electronics industries have grown but Finland is still less industrialized than the other Scandinavian countries. The main resource of Finland is timber.
In 1995 Finland joined the EU. In 1999 Finland joined the Euro. Finland suffered badly in the recession of 2009 but eventually recovered.
Meanwhile in 2000 Tarja Halonen was elected the first woman President of Finland. In the same year Helsinki celebrated its 450th anniversary. Today the population of Finland is 5.4 million.
Finland is known for its number of lakes and lays very flat.