Monday we had a couple of language classes followed by a lesson on Icelandic geology by an associate professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland. Did you know that Iceland is growing at a pace of 2cm each year? The country is expecting a really, really large volcanic eruption to happen anytime now. It will likely be quite devastating but they can’t pin point down exactly when it will happen, maybe later today, maybe in 50 years, but its coming. After that lecture we went to the ministry of education and spoke with some of the staff there. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to meet with the minister as they are still in session right now due to a filibuster regarding fishing taxation.
Last night we all divided up and were invited to have dinner at different members of the boards homes. I along with two others were invited to Eydís Egilsdóttir and Karl Ottósson. Eydís’ family is from Akranes so we went online to Íslendingabók to see how we were related. It turns out we are about 5/6 generations back and not even from Akranes. She said that they knew my great great (great?) grandfather though and that he was a shoe man or repaired shoes or something? (Is that right grandpa?) Anyways, the dinner was lovely and it was nice getting a chance to talk with them, they were such a lovely couple!
Today we had another language class followed by a lecture on Icelandic economy which was really quite interesting. Our lecturer discussed how the economy in Iceland prior to the 2008 crash was seen to be a miracle but that “the whole thing was a house of cards and about to fall down”. We learnt a little bit more about Landsbanki and Icesave which is interesting if you want to check it out. We also learnt about the pots and pans revolution that happened here in Iceland as a protest against the government/banks/financial management/crash. (pretty neat eh dad). The lecturer had a many different theories or reasons as to why the crash happened but as a historian it is too recent of an event to fully comprehend. He did say though that one aspect was the masculine, competitive values that were found in the banking businesses. One banker told him that it was all just a pissing contest with the other banks. The next couple of years should be interesting as there will be more charges laid for crimes committed.
After the lecture we headed to Alþingi the Icelandic Parliament. Unfortunately we didn’t receive much of a tour as they are sitting their final day today and members were spread around the parliament in committee meetings. We did however get to ask a lot of questions and see the house from the gallery which was nice.
Tonight we are having a taste of Iceland. So probably some casual things like pönnukaka, fish, fermented shark meat, boiled sheep head. Yumm yumm! I’ll take pictures and tell you how it tastes.