Come along with us on our trip to Iceland by following our daily blog, today’s entry is by Pam Hanway and Sam Shorto.
Day 1 Reykjavik….
Stepping outside the hotel after our first night’s stay in Reykjavik, I was pleasantly surprised by the weather. Cold, but not the extreme chill I’d been expecting from everybody’s warnings. This lasted for all of about fifteen minutes when we reached Reykjavik’s stunning waterfront halfway through Viktor’s brilliant tour of the city – if you’re coming here, you should wrap up warm! The thing that impressed me most was the wonderful combination of offbeat, brightly-coloured houses and the statues and sculptures providing reminders of the country’s often troubled past. This gives the impression of a city and a culture both fiercely proud of its heritage yet also modern and progressive, a combination that gives it a unique feeling.
In the afternoon – no it didn’t warm up – we had question and answer sessions with the Speaker of Reykjavik City Council, along with representatives from other political parties. Smári McCarthy, MP from the Pirate Party, also gave an insider view of how research and academic knowledge can inform policy decisions. We saw a lively debate in Parliament about the National fishing policy; although none of us (except Viktor) could understand a word of the discussion it was obviously a hotly debated issue! I thought the afternoon was fascinating – hearing policy-makers, from all parties, actively seeking ways to give the public a voice in the decisions being made on their behalf. Albeit, not all proposals from the public are practical or possible to implement, the politicians are listening.