Now in Reykjavic for a week of football and more. Did you know what the country has in common with North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cuba and Bermuda?? Well. there are NO MCDONALDS, one of 10 countries Happy Meal free. Ghsna, Macedonia, Vietnam are the others.
In October 2009 all three McDonalds, all in the capital Reykjavic, closed down due to the then financial crisis. A big recovery in recent years with booming construction work and plenty of new hotels, guest houses, hostels and tourist agencies. Hjorter Smarasson bought the last ever cheeseburger. Rather than eat it he put it on a shelf in his garage. Later he donated it to the National Museum of Icelsnd and it is now at the Bus Hostel in the city.
Food and drink is very expensive here, maybe four times the cost of eating out in Britain. An Icelander who has spent the past 5 years in Denmark...not cheap either..gave me a ride to my first of two matches on Thursday and he said he was shocked at the high prices on his recent visit home. Fortunatly I had lots of fresh fruit and sandwiches in the press box at Fylkir-FH early kick-off and then went with former pro at Valur, Halldor who owns a successful sports wear company called HENSON . We had a VIP hslf time feast to die for as they lost at home to Breidablik 3-0.in the second match.
From the international airport at Keflavic, a former war time air base, ts 50 km through an almost 'far side of the moon' landscape into Reykjavic. Over half the population of about 330,000 live in the capital which is one hour behind British time. I had not realised that when I arrived at Fylkir v FH 90 minutes early and thought I was 30 minutes early. Smsll one stand stadium and a crowd of maybe 600-700. Fylkir is in the Eastern suburb of Arbaer and the announcer told me that there was a salmon stream nearby. It is a large local club with a big youth section. Until 1999 and promotion to The Premier League they had no seats, just a grass hill. In 2014 to meet KSI requirements the Reykjavic City council built them a stand that seats 1900.
Their manager Hermann Hreidarsson played 315 English Premier league matches and had the distinction of being relegated FIVE TIMES with Crystal Palace, Wimbledon, Ipswich Town, Charlton and Portsmouth, although he won an FA Cup winners medal with Portsmouth. 89 appearances for Iceland.They led 2-1 at half time but FM won 3-2 and will be the champions.
Valur is Halldors club and a bigger stadium but still one sided near to the Reykjavic domestic City airport. They sold some spare land next door for a big profit and intend to expand. With a red card and down to 10 men they lost on their artificial turf pitch 3-0 to visitors Breidablik. Maybe 1200 or more fans.
A great start to my Fire and Ice adventure.