We try to stick to a two-night minimum hotel stay when we travel, staying in one place at least two nights if at all possible. One night, is just sleep, two nights and you can start to get a feel, to become familiar with unfamiliar surroundings.
Traveling to places where I don't speak the local language helps me to explore. Being surrounded by words that have no meaning, yet becoming comfortable in the surroundings. Iceland makes light of a unique language, spoken by maybe 400,000 or 500,000 people worldwide. I was pleased at the wide array of books in Icelandic. English is taught as a second language and is common. We did get far enough off the beaten path to meet people who spoke little English. A wonderful thing to experience. Still the familiar we'd like lunch, or a bottle of water are universal and communicated without or with a limited language.
If I use that experience, I can for a moment understand what it feels like to be an immigrant or foreign visitor in my home country. A home country that is largely monolingual. Not an easy place to visit.
The chef/server/bartender in the amazing food court across from the hotel (more on this one day) said people keep saying you should go to New York, or Washington DC, where should he go? So how to answer the question of where or how to visit the USA? New York, DC, Chicago, LA, SF, are major and massive cities and worth experiencing, just as Reykjavik is the largest city in Iceland, and worth the time to become familiar with. But they are not the United States, just as Iceland changes in an hour or less outside of the city, the USA changes dramatically when you leave the cities. Seeing Ohio, tells you nothing about New York City, seeing New York City shows you nothing about Colorado. Spend time and become familiar with the surroundings.
Did you practice any Icelandic phrases before you traveled?ReplyDelete
Didn't even tryDelete
I think the difference between country and city in Australia is not as dramatic as it is in the US. We've only seen New York City in the US, and certainly subsequently if not before we knew we seeing a very special place in the US that was not like most of America.ReplyDelete
There is a lot of rural, in this countryDelete
Iceland is small but has an amazingly rich and unique culture. I guess that's what centuries of isolation can do for you!ReplyDelete
And the people are kind, and honest, and seem to be committed to taking care of one another and the earthDelete
There's a lot of different things to see here. Even some Americans are missing out.ReplyDelete
Most of them are missing out.Delete
Good advice. That's why I don't like tours that pack you from one place to another every day. It's good to spend some time in one place at a time.ReplyDelete
We travel at our own pace, kind of always have marched to a different drummerDelete
I marvel at your ability to explore non-english speaking countries. I am extremely uncomfortable in new places where English is not spoke. (I'm not all that comfortable in strange places where it is, to be honest.) We did go to Montreal, and a fellow blogger who spoke French brought us to "french only" areas to experience what it is like not being able to communicate with our native labguage. I have never been an ignorant American, assuming everyone should speak english, but it definitely helped me appreciate the struggle of being foreign in a strange place more.ReplyDelete