Today we were set loose in the city to interview experts for our stories, running from the City Hall to Reykjavík University to coffee shops talking to local professionals. Feeling independent walking around the city alone, I learned a lot about the city and the locals within. First I took a short cab ride to Reykjavík University, passing local car shops and grocery stores. I spent most of the day there, feeling like a Reykjavík University student, speaking two three different professionals at the Icelandic Center for Research Association and the International Exchange office, then cabbed my way to City Hall to meet Óli Örn Eiríksson about housing in Iceland. Then, I spoke to Hjalti Jón Sveinsson, the principle of Kvennaskólinn school about underage drinking in Iceland. Everyone I talked to was lovely and kind and really wanted to help me strengthen my story.
Iceland is an example for the rest of the world socially and economically and it is probably one of the smartest countries when it comes to these topics. Underage alcohol use and affordable housing are two issues that Iceland is dealing with rather elegantly. I met Margrét Guómundsdóttir at Reykjavík University (a beautiful campus) who is part of the Icelandic Center for Research Association working to change underage alcohol and drug use implementing the Icelandic Model. The Icelandic Model is a series of prevention tactics that involve the youth, families, school teachers, and the whole community to change the culture of youth drinking that started in 1998. Youth drinking has severely decreased in the past few years because of them. Here is what you can expect with talking to local professionals about youth drinking culture in Iceland.
After talking to Guómundsdóttir, I traveled to a small coffee shop next to City Hall, speaking to Óli Örn Eiríksson about the housing market in Iceland. Global housing prices are steep, and Iceland is not immune. Eiríksson is Head of Economic Development in Reykjavík and is working to create solutions to house people in affordable places. Iceland is a part of a price increase that is affecting families around the globe. He talked to me about plans to build smaller, more affordable homes that could help house more locals without having to break their banks.
After interviews, we made our way to my favorite part of the day, which was the delicious dinner at Tapas Barrin, eating an 8 course meal including bread with hummus, Black Death shot, puffin, fish with potatoes and salsa (Arctic Char), lamb kebob, Cod fish with creamy potato garlic sauce, lobster tails, whale with sweet potato purée, Skýr and passion fruit sorbet. We finished the night with a great glass of wine (maybe more than one) and walked back to the hotel. It was a beautiful and calm walk back where we all gawked at the stores wishing to buy everything in them. I definitely nee to be buying a sweater at some point while I am here.