Friday, March 29, 2013

Grundarfjörður – a thriving community

We visited Grundarfjörður recently and had an opportunity to see a thriving community in a beautiful setting. Nestled in the mountains at the end of the fjord right next to the Kirkjufell mountain, Grundarfjörður is a fishing village known for its neatness and hospitality. We met Mayor Björn Steinar Pálmason and the Chair of the Town Council, Sigurborg Hannesdóttir who gave us a great overview of the town. We also visited two family owned fish processing plants, one of which proudly ships most of its cod, herring, and red fish to the United States East Coast. The other specializes in salted cod for the European market. The plants are family owned and have been in business since the 1940s. The local high school, Fjölbrautaskóli Snæfellinga, has unique facilities and offers a learning model suited for many of its students who travel many miles (some take the ferry from across the bay). It was our great and pleasant surprise to find out that Amila Crnac, one of a few very talented Icelandic students who received a prize in an English story writing contest organized by the Association of Teachers of English in Iceland, attends that school. We learned that the American connection to this innovative school came from the ideas that helped shape the physical layout which was provided by an American specialist.