Iceland is cool

The last stop on my recent European tour was Iceland, a volcanic country of humongous lava fields, with a few towns and cities scattered here and there, more powered by geothermal energy than anywhere and featuring whale sashimi in some of the finer restaurants. The size of Kentucky, Iceland has a population of only 330,000, half of which are in the capital Reykavic.

Before being settled by Vikings over 1000 years ago, there were no indigenous peoples here, and the only native mammal was the arctic fox (I wonder how he got there?) . It’s hard to overestimate the hardiness of the first Icelanders, pioneers in the extreme! One hero of Iceland is Leif Erickson, known as ‘Leif the Lucky’, the very first European to discover North America.

In spite of its name, Iceland is warmed by Atlantic currents and was quite mild during the mid-June days I was there. And, in June this is a very bright place – it is light outside from 3 AM until midnight. played an key role in my taking a stopover in Reykavik on my way back to New York from Denmark. When I was booking the round-trip via Icelandic Airways, I was engaged by a very friendly booking agent — a woman who, as I discovered in conversation, was a fan of the Tarot. This fact naturally brought up my founding of a website that features Tarot. In addition, just before I would arrive, she was scheduled to see the Dalai Lama in Denmark, who would also visit Iceland, where she would see him again. Like her, I consider myself a Buddhist and had visited the Dalai Lama in his home in India years ago.

In the midst of this rather animated flight-booking conversation, I persuaded her to set me up with a one day stopover in Iceland, let me take her out to dinner, and show me around a bit (that’s Venus in Gemini for you) … and it was fun visiting another capital of Europe, thanks to my new friend, Elin!