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East Iceland offers a dream-like escape in sparsely populated landscape

When we dream, people we know from our waking life often turn up in unusual places, doing things we never expected. Real life is a lot like that in the tiny town of Neskaupstadur, nestled in the easternmost part of Iceland.

The man with the grey hair and the piercing blue eyes I met on a small fishing boat one afternoon is the same man who turned up in the town’s lone bar that night, and then at the sole concert later on (attended by just 40). The next day, I see the man again, this time serving breakfast at one of the few local hotels, which, it turns out, is owned by his son.

“Everyone has to wear many hats here,” said another local resident, Siggi Olafsson, who bills himself as a management consultant, lecturer, hiking guide and bassist. “With so few people, we all pitch in.”

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