Meeting the President

Vigdís Finnbogadottír was president of Iceland for sixteen years and Europe’s first female president. She has been out of office for some time and so it’s a pleasure to see her back in the press, speaking at a Copenhagen culture centre. And she looks great. Here is a screen grab of the photo in the article, with photo credit to the Icelandic President’s Office.

vigdisnow

In 1991, before the worry over climate change in the Arctic and before Icelandair had established itself as the fine link between North America and northern Europe that it is today, Iceland kept an indistinct profile as a frozen island way up there somewhere in the dark. Only five years earlier Ronald Reagan brought U.S. landing rights for then tiny Icelandair, as a lagniappe for then Prime Minister Hermannsson, to the famous Reagan/Gorbachev summit.

Every place as off-the-beaten-track as Reykjavik in 1991 calls out to me, and so when Icelandair had a sale, I flew up in the middle of winter. For braving the far north at the opposite of Iceland’s then-tiny tourist season I was rewarded, entirely by chance and the help of some great local people, with a meeting with President Finnbogadottír. Here is the surviving snapshot. That’s the Minister of Culture, right, the President, and me.

vigdis

(As an aside, the Icelandair Saga Lounge at Keflavik is spacious and airy with lots of hot food choices. Nice. Looking forward to transiting next month en route to Finland.)

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