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GlobeSwotter… Reykjavik

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Founded in the country’s southwest at the end of the 18th century, Reykjavik has been Iceland’s cultural hub ever since. These days, that culture includes a hip and internationally recognised music and arts scene, not to mention a notoriously wild nightlife.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavík is the centre of the Greater Reykjavík Area which, with a population of 202,000, is the only metropolitan area in Iceland. As a highly modernized capital of one of the most developed countries in the world, its inhabitants enjoy a first-class welfare system and city infrastructure. Its location, only slightly south of the Arctic Circle, receives only four hours of daylight on the shortest day in the depth of winter; during the summer the nights are almost as bright as the days.

The world’s most northerly capital combines colourful buildings, quirky people, a wild nightlife and a capricious soul to devastating effect. Most visitors fall helplessly in love, returning home already saving to come back. Reykjavík is a city that treasures its Viking past but wants the future – the very best of it – NOW.

Visitors to Reykjavik experience easily the pure energy at the heart of Iceland’s capital city – whether from the boiling thermal energy underground, the natural green energy within the city and around it, or the lively culture and fun-filled nightlife.

Think of the qualities of a great city – fun, space, clean air, nature, culture – and Reykjavik has them in spades. It has the features of a modern, forward-looking society which are complemented by a close connection to beautiful nature right on the city’s doorstep.

A confirmed case of Swine Flue has been reported in Iceland. There is a low threat from terrorism.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Around 70,000 British tourists visit Iceland every year. Most visits to Iceland are trouble-free.

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Out on the mossy moors of Iceland stand houses collapsing slowly into themselves, still memorials of family dreams and lost hope. Iron roofs rust to a deep red that compliments the colors of the surrounding landscape and weathered timber frames take on the same kind of rough fragility as the lava that surrounds them. They seem to belong just as they are, slipping quietly into decay, making hard to imagine them new in such lonely places, filled with children and with the warm smells of a hopeful family’s home.

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