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Summer in Iceland

                                                                                                                                                                                                   June 21 is summer solstice. This means that the endless bright summer nights we experience in the North will now retreat slowly to what is “normal” and then, in the middle of December it will have totally reversed. We are used to the light nights – as we are used to long, dark winter days. For the past few days we have had wonderful, warm days – even though the temperature hardly ever reaches 20°C. When the Icelanders experience such days they forget volcanic eruptions and financial crises and frolic in the sun, enjoying life.

To a foreign eye Iceland seems to have no trees at all. The road from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik is barren of trees – in fact it consists of a huge lava field on which moss has smoothened out the rough surface. When the first permanent settlers came to Iceland over 1100 years ago the land was said to be “forested  from sea shore to mountain tops”. This might have been a hyped up statement, tempting possible settlers to come to our Paradise island. Deforestation became a fact in Iceland, not due to bad weather, rather to sheep grazing, burning down of woods to create farmlands and using birch as fuelwood.

Nowadays we have had organized forestry for over 100 years and circumstances have been reversed, making Iceland a better place than ever before. In the capital Reykjavik and towns around the country well kept gardens usually surround the houses and many people take pride in trying out all sorts of exotic flowers and trees – even planting fruit trees. The best part is that you are never lost in an Icelandic wood – you just stand up.