Tag Archives: phil hardwick

March 2020 Update

March 2020

Greetings:

March certainly came in like a lion. I don’t think it will go out like a lamb. Here at our new home in north Georgia Carol and I are closing out the month “sheltering in place,” going out only to play tennis or make a quick trip to the grocery or pharmacy. The coronavirus situation is presented daily in the media as numbers of cases and deaths and where they are located. Important information, for sure.

But there is a story that captures this crisis. It’s about what happened and continues to happen in Albany, Georgia. A beloved school janitor dies, there is a funeral of over 200 mourners, and a few weeks later people start dying.  

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BOOKS READ THIS MONTH

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.   One of the best books I’ve ever read. No wonder it is now in its 80th week on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo. A powerful children’s book. Ann Patchett, best-selling author and co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville said, “…it changed my life.” This one should be read first by the adult before reading to smaller children. Yes, I read children’s books. We have four grandchildren.

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THE ZOOM CONFERENCING APP has soared to use and popularity as more groups are meeting online. It’s fantastic, for sure. Zoom’s cloud-meetings app is currently the most popular free app for iPhones in the United States, according to Sensor Tower, a mobile app market research firm. But wait a minute. The New York Attorney General is looking into its privacy practices.

Zoom says it is no longer forwarding user data to Facebook.

P.S. Hey Microsoft, what happened to Skype?  

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A VIST TO STARKVILLE, MISSISSIPPI

Earlier this month, I had a pleasant visit to StarkVegas to do some research for an upcoming project. The historic Chester Hotel was my home base. It was featured in an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Hotel Hell. Worth watching.

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OUR TRAVELING HAS COME TO A HALT. Our late Springtime travel plans included trips to Panama and Alaska. Cancellations were handled in different ways. The airlines (Delta and Alaska Airlines) charged a small cancellation fee and promised e-credits for future flights. They still haven’t been posted. The cruise line for Alaska promised a 50% refund and a 50% credit for a future cruise. Still haven’t received either. 

And then there is Caravan Tours, the company we booked for our Panama trip. I had purchased a trip insurance policy that allowed cancellation for any reason. When I called Caravan to cancel, I was informed that everything I had paid would be fully refunded. Within 10 days I had received a full refund. Consequently, we plan to take at least two Caravan tours in the future. I don’t mean to sound critical of the airlines and the cruise line because they are dealing with an economic and communications disaster, but I believe exceptional customer service should be rewarded. So thank you Caravan.

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COLUMNS PUBLISHED IN MARCH

Image is everything, even in Mississippi

Customers are judging everything of every transaction

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SELF-PUBLISHING – The most common writing question I get is, Who’s your publisher?

It seems the publishing world changes everyday. Authors, especially new authors, have more alternatives than ever. There’s one author I keep up with when is comes to marketing and self-publishing. 

Joe Konrath is considered a pioneer in self-publishing. He has sold more than three million books in twenty countries. He’s written over forty novels and over a hundred short stories in the mystery, thriller, horror, and sci-fi genres. He’s been a #1 Amazon bestseller on three different occasions, and has been in the Top 100 bestseller lists over twenty times. He’s twice won the Love is Murder Award for best thriller, and has also won the Derringer Award, and the Ellery Queen Readers Choice Award, and has been nominated for many others including the Anthony, Macavity, and Gumshoe.

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SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT 

The most important thing in life is to stop saying “I wish” and say “I will.” – Charles Dickens

Your customers are not all the same

Once upon a time, I did some research about customer transactions for a company that had an office where customers could come in, sign up for new accounts, make payments on existing accounts and otherwise transact business. My task was to learn more about why customers were coming to the facility to transact business when they could just as easily, actually even more easily, complete the transaction online. What I discovered from one certain customer caused me to rethink business transactions.

She was a senior citizen, not quite what one would call elderly. She waited patiently in line behind several others, then approached the counter and interacted with the clerk. It appeared that she made a payment of some kind. I approached her as she was leaving, identified myself and told her I was doing some research. She brightened up and told me she would be glad to participate. She told me that she had internet service, lived some distance from the facility and always made her monthly payment in person. When I probed about the reasons she did so instead of using her computer at home, she quickly responded, “Because Becky always asks me about my back.”

What I learned was that hers was as much a social interaction as a business transaction. I also begin to wonder if some businesses were placing too much emphasis on the mechanics of their customer transactions to the detriment of the emotional element of their transactions. Of course, I also learned that every customer is different and that not all customers value the same thing in a business transaction.

The key is to know what customers want. And not just customers as a bundle, but each individual customer. That can be tricky and time-consuming. Algorithms and artificial intelligence may be getting better at personalizing transactions, but sometimes it can backfire. Overuse of technology can remove that personal touch and cause the loss of a customer.

Recently, an employee of a nonprofit organization told me about a fundraising effort that was about to begin. She told me about the specific program that the funds would be used for. She also told me to mention her name when I made the contribution. She also suggested a modest amount. Any amount was fine as long as I contributed something and mentioned her name. I suspected some competition among employees was going on.

The initiative was something that I wanted to support, so I went online and made a contribution several times the amount suggested. The online transaction was efficient. It even provided a box to enter the name of a person who referred me if I wished to do so. Less than 10 seconds after clicking “Submit” on my computer I had a new email in my inbox thanking me for my contribution. It was the most generic, simple “thank you” I believe I have ever seen. Two sentences, no personalization and no mention of the person I said referred me. That was a month ago. I haven’t seen the employee or received anything else since then.

Here are my seat-of-the-pants recommendations for creating successful transactions:

Know your customer. Is your primary customer a male, female, young, old, new, etc.? Know the demographics of your customers. Who is it buying your product or service?

Learn what your customer really values. One of the keys to amazon.com’s success is that it has shortened the time between desire and fulfillment. Online customers probably value things like convenience, speed and the ability to shop more than the customer who goes to the mall.

Determine how to satisfy the customer. Once you know what the customer really values, then figure out how to fulfill that desire. I believe we have overused the term “exceed customer expectations.” I know it’s tough. Companies are trying hard.   But some customers want more than just the basics of the transaction.  Use technology, but don’t over-digitize. By the way, do you think most of the customers sitting in a Starbucks Cafe really are there because of the coffee?

Train employees — I recommend regularly checking the Gallup organization website to better understand what employees want.
Follow-up with customers. Maybe even make phone contact with them. Beware of online reviews. There are companies now that are paid to make phone good online reviews. When looking at online reviews though, pay attention to those from obvious real customers.
Monitor trends. What do customers want in the transaction, not just what they are buying. And keep up with society trends. I recommend faith popcorn.com as a good source for that kind of information.

Finally, let’s look to a couple of experts on this subject.

Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”

There are customers out there who are looking for you. Help them find you by being where they are looking. Places like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Maps, Google Search, Social Media and their peers. Yes, their peers. One of the primary sources of information is other people.

Jeffrey Gitomer, sales trainer, author and speaker, has said, “Your customers are judging every aspect of every transaction and rating everything, from friendliness of people to ease of doing business to quality of product to service after the sale.”

September 2019 Update

Greetings from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We have settled into our new home and are getting more involved in our community and family. Looking forward to leaf-peeping season.

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Autumn is getting closer, and that means apples in north Georgia. There are plenty of orchards that allow visitors to pick their own. Check out this apple-picking article.

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North Georgia is also becoming known for its vineyards. What? Georgia wine? It’s not NAPA, but it’s pretty good. Two of our favorite wineries are Montaluce, near Dahlonega, and Engelheim Vineyards, near Ellijay. At Montaluce, you’ll feel like you’re in Tuscany. Upscale dining overlooking the vineyard. A couple of years ago at a wine tasting in Dahlonega, we met Gary Engel. He’s a retired US Army Colonel who decided to purchase the land that is now known as Engelheim (German for “Angel Home”) in 2007. The Engel family planted their first vines in 2009 and harvested their first vintage in 2011; Engelheim Vineyards has been going strong ever since.

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By the way, If you like mysteries set in wine country, you’ll enjoy Ellen Crosby’s books.

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Know anyone who wants to be a flight attendant? Delta Air Lines announced that it plans to hire 1,000 new flight attendants in 2020. Last time it made such an announcement it received over 35,000 video applications. 

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I’m toying with the idea of producing an audio version of Justice in Jackson, the second book in the Mississippi Mysteries Series. As I reread my work, I was surprised to find that many of the well-known places mentioned in the book in 1997 were no longer there or have substantially changed. Here are a dozen places that meet that description: Deposit Guaranty Bank/Plaza, the University Club, the IOF Building, the Edison Walthall Hotel, the Harvey Hotel, the Landmark Center, the Subway Lounge/Summers Hotel, Frank’s World Famous Biscuits, the King Edward Hotel, Olde Thyme Delicatessen, Dennery’s Restaurant, and the “Welcome to Mississippi” highway sign.How many of your community’s icons have gone away?

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How much is a business worth? In a recent column, I examine a few different methods of valuing an ongoing business. Before doing so, allow me to share a personal story. It’s about my grandfather. 

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REMINDER: feel free to share and refer others who might want to receive these updates. Have them email phil@philhardwick.com and enter SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. I do not share my email list.

***** SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT 
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.Vince Lombardi

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Until next time,
Phil

2019 July/August Update

Phil Hardwick
2019 July/August UPDATE

Carol and I are now ensconced in our new home in north Georgia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Movers unloaded our household two weeks ago. By day, we are still unpacking. By evening, we are trying out restaurants in the area. We are excited about our new stage in life, especially being close to our four grandchildren.

Speaking of moving, the 2018 Migration Report by North American Van Lines  reveals that Idaho, Arizona, South Carolina, and Tennessee led the nation in the Inbound category, while Illinois, California and New Jersey topped the Outbound list. 

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Selling our house in Jackson, which we lived in for 26 years, was an overall positive experience. It was on the market only five days after we listed it with Dale Cook of Nix-Tann Realtors. Kudos to Dale and to Jenny Price of Neighbor House, who represented the buyer. True professionals.

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I have one movie poster in my new home office for inspiration for my writing of mysteries.It’s “A Touch of Evil,” starring Charlton Heston, Orson Wells, and Janet Leigh. It’s autographed by Janet Leigh. Carol and I had the honor and pleasure of being her escort when she visited Jackson, Mississippi several years ago as part of a Smithsonian project. A gracious lady. She will probably be remembered most for the shower scene in the movie “Psycho.”

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My website, www.philhardwick.com has a description of every book in the Mississippi Mysteries series. Someone asked me about my favorite murder weapon. It’s not a gun or a knife. It’s a common over-the-counter medication that a wife used to kill her husband. She put it into his banana pudding. More can be found in Conspiracy in Corinth. Oh yes, the medication is Acetaminophen.

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It’s the height of the political season in Mississippi. Did you know that I once ran for public office? Read about the eight things I learned from that experience in my Mississippi Business Journal column.

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As a writer, it is often enlightening and frustrating to break old habits when it comes to the ever-changing rules of the English language. For example, I always remembered that “start” referred to things, such as engines, cars, motors, etc. and that “begin” is about non-mechanical things such as sentences, projects, ideas, etc. Nowadays, start is the new begin. And then there are the pronouns. Gender neutrality and how one feels inside themselves rather than how they were born. Him and himself are definitely out. So is her. It’s now about gender-neutral pronouns. Hmmm.  Imagine what it must be like for students who are learning English as a second language. If you’d like to see a clever three-and-a-half-minute video about pronouns and the current state of confusion, check out  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzNGkwGYE4E.  

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Our grandson’s elementary school is going to use Franklin Covey’s The Leader in Me. The program… “teaches 21st-century leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader.” First heard about it from Christi Kilroy with the Vicksburg Warren School District, which was one of the first schools in the country to use the program. 

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More than 9,300 people attended this year’s Mississippi Book Festival. This represents record attendance for the five-year-old festival and is an increase of 22 percent from last year.

According to Holly Lange, Festival Executive Director, “More than 245 authors participated in Saturday’s festival, including 170 on 48 official panels and another 75 authors meeting the public in Author’s Alley. I nominate Holly Lange for Mississippian of the Year.

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Finally, why do I prefer an email distribution list? Why not just connect with people on social media?

There are many reasons, but the most important is, I own my list. Also, I do not share your name and email address. 

Your Facebook Page is not owned by you.
Your Twitter account is not owned by you.
Your YouTube account is not owned by you.
Your Pinterest followers aren’t owned by you.
Your Instagram followers aren’t owned by you.

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LOOKING AHEAD – Novel writing software review

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SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

When making plans, think big.
When making progress, think small.

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Until next month,

Phil

The Importance of Design

(Mississippi Business Journal online edition)

June 14, 2019

What do the television shows Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, Masters of Flip and Fixer Upper have in common?

Answer: They are the most watched home decorator shows of all time.

Watch any of those shows, or any similar shows on television, and you’re likely to hear the term “design” used quite a bit. Design, which is the process of creating something based on a plan, is becoming an in-thing.  It’s about time.  What was once available to only those who could afford architects has now come to us mortal souls.

There is no longer any doubt about it.  Design, has finally become regarded as the important aspect of life that it is.  I know this because CBS Sunday Morning, my favorite television program, has had an annual design show each year for the past few years.  I also know this because schools of design are popping up all over the place.  In most cases, these schools are tied in with a school of art or architecture.

Good design can sometimes be so subtle it’s hardly noticed.  When traffic flows smoothly, for example, it is taken for granted.  But let the merge lane be too short or the signage too confusing, and bad design is evident in all its ugly glory.  Traffic circles are a good example.  If they work, then it is good design; if they do not, then it is a bad design.

Although design is ubiquitous, it is in our homes where we can really appreciate it, perhaps because we spend so much time there.  I live in a house that was built in 1959.  It was designed for 1959.  It has a formal living room, for example.  It also has a hot water at the opposite end of the house from the bathrooms.  I have not done anything about having to wait an extra minute for hot water in the bathroom, but the formal living room has been opened up by removing most of a wall and installing a new countertop and bar.  Houses are good examples of the effect on design and vice versa because our living spaces seem to be constantly evolving.  Master bedrooms are huge in most new houses, and master bathrooms nowadays have become something that the Roman rulers would be envious of.

Interior design is all the rage these days.  In case you have not noticed, just turn on the television and see how many so-called makeover programs are on the schedule.  And let us not forget feng shui.  Feng means wind, and Shui means water in Chinese. The two things affect the weather and weather affects our energy.  Thus, where a house is located and the direction it faces can impact our rhythm and energy. If the house is in alignment or in rhythm with the landscape, a good healthy life force is created. Consultants are now available to design a house using these principles.

Design continually affects the devices and appliances we use in our houses.  From vacuum cleaners to washers and dryers, there seems to be a constant redesign to make things better or maybe more in tune with the times.  Even dust rags and paper towels are part of the process.  There is now a plastic tub of Clorox cleaning rags for the counter and something called Swifters for those hard to get to places where dust hides.

One wonders whether older was better.  Seaside, Florida has a motto that reads, “The New Town. The Old Ways.”  New urbanism is about designing communities to be walkable and diverse.  Indeed the charter of charter of the Congress for the New Urbanism states in part, “…urban places should be framed by architecture and landscape design that celebrate local history, climate, ecology, and building practice.”

Design principles, especially residential ones,  have even become universal.  I know that because I discovered the Universal Design Project. Its website, universaldesign.org, states that  America has a housing problem. It also offers a solution, as follows: 

“There aren’t enough universally accessible options. We envision a world where everyone has a functional and affordable place to live. But before that can happen, those places have to be designed.”  The solution is to facilitate collaboration between design professionals (e.g., residential architects, interior designers), health professionals (e.g. occupational therapists, rehabilitation engineers, environmental gerontologists), and our advisory group of individuals who have life experience with disability. The purpose of doing so is to include all the necessary perspectives in discussions about design decisions.”

Perhaps it is time we appreciate and understand more the role that design plays in our lives and the contributions of designers, whether they be architects, engineers, artists or others.

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11 Things I’ve Learned About Economic Development

11 Things I’ve Learned about Economic Development

During my still active career in economic and community development, I’ve learned quite a few things. Some, but not all, are listed below. These are just the first ones that came to mind. 

1. Economic development is all about jobs.Even though the textbook definition of the term is, “… the process of increasing the economic wealth of a community,” almost all economic developers see their role as doing that by creating, increasing and retaining jobs. The press releases and the websites tout number of jobs created more than just about anything else. That’s because jobs, especially good paying jobs drive most economies. A job not only brings money to a community, but it also provides self-worth and security to individuals. 

2. Communities and organizations are perfectly structured for the outcomes they are getting. Many community leaders seem to be waiting for something to happen to their communities before making adjustments. For example, they hope that the state will bring a project or that some company will discover them. If that’s true, then nothing is going to change unless the structures are changed. That could mean a change in leadership, procedure or organization. Something that is very difficult to do because it often means that someone has to give up something.

3. Leadership really matters.Indeed, it seems to be the one thing that differentiates the communities that thrive versus those that do not.

4. Accountability is one of the keys to economic development success.  I have facilitated dozens of strategic planning retreats. Often, I go back to the organization six months or a year later and ask about the outcomes. What I usually found is that almost all the goals were achieved or very few or none were achieved. Why such a big difference? What I discovered is that the goals that were most often achieved were the ones where someone was held accountable. 

5. Measuring things is very important.The six Total Quality Management concepts are customer focus, leadership, teamwork, continuous improvement, measurement and benchmarking. Although each is important, it begins with measurement. If economic development is the process of increasing the wealth of a community then wealth should be measured. But which wealth metrics?  Employment statistics, sales tax collections and property values are just three things that should be measured. Assessed valuation of real property can be tricky to measure if there’s a lot of off-the-books property such as government and other exempt real estate. I recommend the model used by the Commission on the future of Northeast Mississippi.  Each year the 17 counties in the region meet to share a variety of measurements. “These findings are used to produce the annual State of the Region report and to set annual goals to measure our successes,” states their purpose.

6. Successful economic developers know that it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. Have you noticed that at those groundbreaking ceremonies it is the economic developers who are in the background? Good economic developers know that they are facilitators of the process and that others, usually elected officials, who have a critical role.

7. Partnerships and collaboration are essential.Just take a look at any successful economic development project.

8. Economic development is long-term and incremental. There are no magic bullets. 

9. It’s a lot about location, location, location.Did you know that over half of all jobs in Mississippi are in only 11 counties? According to the October 2018 Mississippi Department of Employment Security Labor Market Report, there were 1,219,300 persons employed in the state. Divide that by two and the result is 609,650. If one then adds the number of jobs in each county beginning with the county with the most jobs (Hinds – 105,990, when the 11th county (Lafayette – 26,820) is added the result is 611,840. By the way, some of my heroes in economic development are those who work in poor, lowly populated counties that have very little chance of ever landing a big project. In one sense, they do more with what they have than others in urban areas where interstate highways intersect. 

10. Connections are important. Successful economic developers go to conferences and events. They know each other, they know site selectors and they stay up-to-date on everything related to their profession.

11. Successful communities visit other cities and regions to see how it can be done. Taking a group of business and community leaders to a successful city or region can be inspirational and provide a good roadmap for the future. Unfortunately, one mistake that some make is to attempt to recreate the other city instead of using their own unique asset.

REFLECTIONS ON FIVE DAYS IN ICELAND

REFLECTIONS ON FIVE DAYS IN ICELAND

Our plane landed on schedule at Iceland’s modern Keflavik International Airport. It was in early afternoon on a midsummer’s day. The weather was cloudy; the temperature in the upper 50’s. Unlike most countries my wife and I have visited there was no customs check-in. We simply picked up or bags and caught our pre-arranged bus to downtown Reykjavik, which is some 39 miles away. We had arrived at a place that has become the darling of international travel. Because of Iceland’s current image as a travel destination my wife and I tacked it on to a recent international trip. What we found was a fascinating landscape, a rapidly evolving capital city, friendly people and expensive food and lodging. Let’s begin with some background information about the country.

Iceland is hot.

Its economy is on the upswing, tourism is increasing, population is growing and its people are happy. All these changes are combining to change the perception of the country and to make it the latest “in” place to visit. And of course, being a volcanic island it is also literally hot.

Nevertheless, all things are not rosy. There is some worry that the economy is overheating and that there is a doctor shortage. Also, being a small country, it is subject to a lot of volatility in more ways than one. Consequently, a concern 10 years ago may not be a concern today, and vice-versa. When doing Internet research, it is wise to look at the date of the article.

Iceland’s economy is growing. Its current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $24 billion, up 7.5% over 2016. That was helped by low oil prices and high fish prices in international markets. By contrast, Mississippi’s 2017 GDP was $96.82 billion. Tourism has taken over seafood as the major driver of Iceland’s economy. One estimate has it contributing to just over 50% of GDP growth. Visitors spent a total of $4.68 billion on accommodations, tours, meals, and transportation associated with domestic travel in 2017. According to the Icelandic Tourism Board, in 2010 the number of visitors was 488,600. In 2016, that climbed to 1,792,000, which is an annual growth rate during that period of 24.4%.

Iceland’s population grew by 10,101 in 2017, according to a new report from Statistics Iceland. The total population on January 1st, 2018 was 348,450, a 3.0 % increase from the previous year. The highest rate of population growth was in the Reykjavik peninsula, which grew by 1,777 people or 7.4 %. The Reykjavík capital region experienced a population growth of 2.6 % (5,606 persons). No regions of the country experienced population decline.

Now that I’ve set the stage, allow me to share a bit of travelogue from that recent visit to Iceland. Some things you need to know before heading o to Iceland. First, you will most certainly land in Keflavik Airport. Transportation to downtown varies widely. Costs can range from free hotel shuttle to $120 for a taxi. We took the Flybus for $48, and it took us to within a block and a half from the AirBnb apartment we rented. Decent hotels run from $200 and up per night. Restaurants are also expensive. Expect to pay $30 and up for a meal. A beer will cost you around $10.

When taking my first shower in our apartment I noticed a slightly funny smell when I turned on the hot water faucet. Sort of like a sulfuric odor. Turns out that the hot water is provided by geothermal heating, which meets the requirements of 87 % of all buildings in Iceland. It also has a slight amount of hydrogen sulfide. But don’t worry, a person does not smell like sulfur after taking a shower or bath.

The cold water faucet is a different story. It supplies cold water, which is among the coldest and purest in the world. No need to buy bottled water in Iceland.

Without a doubt, every visitor to Iceland should take what is known as the Golden Circle Tour, which is a 190 mile route to three or four of the most unique places on the planet. My favorite three were Thingvellir National Park, Gulfoss waterfall and the Geyser geothermal area. We took the day-long tour in a minibus with eight other people. Cost was $88 per person.

Thingvellir National Park is the place where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are drifting apart at an average of one inch per year. Absolutely fascinating. Expect to see lots of tourists and sightseers there and all the other Golden Circle stops. Nearby is the largest lake in Iceland. Also nearby is the site of the first national parliament of Iceland, which was established at the site in 930 AD, making it the oldest Parliament in the world.

There are over 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland, but Gullfoss is probably the most famous because of its beauty, power and accessibility. It is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull.

The Geysir geothermal area is where one can hear the bubbling of the mud pots, smell the sulfur in the air and watch in awe as the geyser Strokkur blasts boiling water into the air.

Many Golden Circle tour operators also include the famous Blue Lagoon or the Secret Lagoon.

What I have described is in the southern part of Iceland. The northern part is where the landscape is so rugged and glacial that is the scene of many movies that depict other worlds. The Star Wars Sagas and HBO’s Game of Thrones are among many movies and television shows that have been filmed in Iceland.

I could go on, but I’m out of space. I’ll close with what I suspect is a misconception about Iceland. The other day I heard someone say that businesses were moving out of Iceland, that taxes were high and that it was so depressing there that it had the highest suicide rate in the world. Only one of those comments is true. Taxes are high. With an income tax of around 35 % and a value added tax of 15 % on many goods, the rate could get to 50 %. However, there is free medical care and free education, among other things. Now about that suicide rate. Iceland’s suicide rate comes in at number 65 on the World Health Organization rankings, while the United States ranks 48th.

Finally, the 2017 U.N. World Happiness Report ranks Iceland as the fourth happiest country in the world, and the 2018 Global Peace Index ranks Iceland as the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008.

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