Ike went to Hólar in Northern Iceland with his most excellent fellow adventurers Helen and Traff. Hólar was the seat of the Northern diocese of the church in Iceland until 1801 and was one of the main centres of learning. Hólar University College is still here and focuses on Aquaculture, Equine Studies and Tourism Studies.
The photo above shows Nýibær, a preserved 19th century turf house. Ike had a look inside:
Next they saw Hólar Cathedral and Bell Tower (where Ike showed off his head for heights!):
And then Auðunarstofa, a recreation of a 14th century Bishops’ house where Ike tried his paws at weaving:
Q. What do you do if you’re lost in an Icelandic forest?
A. Stand up…Old Icelandic joke!
When settlers first arrived in Iceland it is estimated that forest covered about 40% of the island, but by the 20th century this was down to 0.5%. The massive deforestation was caused by the need for wood for building and fuel, as well as the deliberate creation of grazing land for sheep.
But for the past 100 years Icelanders have been working at saving the old forests and planting new ones and are now at 2% – the cottage shown above, where Ike and friends stayed, is owned by ‘forest farmers’ who plant 20 000 trees per year. In total 3 million trees are planted every year and the hope is that 12% forest coverage can be reached by 2100.