Polar bear skins in Reykjavik shop.

Strolling around Reykjavik today it struck us what an unusual town this is. in many ways we’re in love with the broad spaces, the fresh air and the focus on sustainability we’ve seen as we’ve travelled around Iceland. But then there’s the other side.

Reykjavik is like an American country town. It’s spread out, and everyone seems to drive everywhere (although in contrast to many US towns I’ve been to, there are footpaths available). And people drive about in enormous four-wheel-drive tricks – often not just big, but actually outsized. I understand how tough Iceland is as an environment, but those things must chew through petrol at a level which would have to make them seriously environmentally unfriendly at any normal level.

And then there’s the food. Puffins I can just about see as a food-source. Not wild about it myself, but I can come at not differentiating them from chickens. But whales? No, sorry, just can’t sympathise on any level. An animal of clear intelligence with a life expectancy of from 50 to 90 years, depending on the species, is not suitable for your evening meal.

Finally, the shop selling whale-bone ands seal-skin artefacts with polar bear skins displayed in the window. By all means call me culturally insensitive; but polar-bear skins? No, nope, should not happen.

In a Reykjavik playground.