Who woulda believed the weather in far north Iceland would be so pleasant? I packed hands full of hand warmers and a boot full of foot warmers and we have not used them at all! They are heavy, too. We may leave them behind… the weight savings may make up for Some of the beach rocks Somebody has collected…
When we left you, we were checked into Ytra Lón guest house and sheep farm. What a lovely place.
It was nice to have two nights in one spot for a change.
Sunday is the 1st day of the year (at this latitude) with no ‘sunset’. The sun goes down at 12:01 am Monday- back up at 1:53. We have yet to see the moon or stars.
Breakfast included home smoked trout caught in the river running through the farm as well as eggs from their own hens. I asked later in the day what the fuel used in the smoker is since there ain’t a lot of trees in Iceland (but it is getting better – Ytra planted 4000 last year). Sverrir (our host) told me he uses a traditional and VERY plentiful and organic material – sheep chips! Yup; just what you are thinking they are.
We were taken on a 5 hour tour in his LandRover to the Lighthouse at World’s End. It is where the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans meet. We stopped at bird cliffs, a town built about 1900 and abandoned in 1946 and is now in ruins, a ship wreck and an old US Army base that is just rubble now. Then the Lighthouse.
Dinner that night was more trout ?not smoked) & lamb that was very fresh….and local!
We then headed up the Meleakkasletta Peninsular to Iceland’s northernmost mainland town – Raufarhöfn 66° 27.733. Almost to the Arctic Circle. Only one little island crosses that line but we ain’t going there.
We had read about this thing being built called Arctic Henge. It is supposed to emulate Stonehenge in the sunrise/sunset solstice/equinox observations. Also supposed to include the 47 named elves and other beliefs that are still popular here. Well, construction started in 2007 and is still sloooowly moving along. We actually saw a truck delivering gravel (the Druids in Britain did not use trucks and probably built theirs faster!).
It is photogenic though!
When we were in Iceland in 2015, our weather was a bit less conducive to seeing some sights so we were washed out of 2 big waterfalls then – Dettifoss and Godafoss so we made sure to visit again during this heatwave as well as the north’s answer to the very touristy and overpriced Blue Lagoon. This one is called Jaròbödin and is about 1/2 the cost and less crowded.
We actually had some car trouble- our Duster had 2 warning lights come on. Fortunately we were close to our next stop, Akureyri which is the country’s second largest city – 17,000. I called the rental company and they arranged to have a mechanic standing by. It took about an hour for him to replace a couple hoses. Phew!
The shop had an interesting reception desk.
There is an amazing restaurant in Akureyri that is worth the trip if you are in Iceland. It is called Rub23. Great sushi, other seafood and steaks (I hear – I’ve only eaten the fishies). We are there twice last trip. Luckily they are still in business and thriving.
One of the great pleasures of this trip is the level of spontaneity we have. While perusing a great book store we saw a postcard showing a great waterfall – Aldeyjarfoss only about 90 drive from Aky. We headed over there and saw from one of our guidebooks that it was listed in the Top 10 Fosses. That makes 8 of those for us – but who is keeping score?
When we arrived, there was a chopper parked there and I don’t mean a Harley. It took off a bit later and flew right down the canyon headed upstream to the falls. I did not get pics of the scariest bit as I was not expecting such aerial maneuvers but I did get some plus what I think are some other good shots.
We returned to Aki and found a great beer bar for sale – anyone wanna go halves?
Aki has some funkiness to it.
As well as a great botanical garden
We had dinner the 2nd night at a place that had this sign
I asked if was the # of meals served- nope it is the # of Icelanders. They update it daily. Funky, funky, funky…
Another bit of spontaneous action on our part involves the eastern Washington couple we met. They told us of a town north of Aki called Siglufjordhur- Siglo to the locals and since we had two nights unbooked (intentionally for just this eventuality) we decided to head up. They also recommended a terrific hotel right on the harbor and a restaurant that serves seafood pizza. I could get used to this!
But not before the aforementioned alfresco breakfast this morning
Along the drive, in the town of Askógssandur is the home of Bjorbodin, the country’s 1st microbrewery. That alone is a reason to visit but they do one better- a BEER SPA! Yup. A hot tub full of their fine young brew. It has all sorts of restorative properties and is organic, local (except the hops which come from Washington), antibiotic, probiotic, free radicals, chained up radicals, vegan & vegetarian, low carb, non toxic and tres cool!
That tap you see is free to use. I did so but sparingly as I had a drive ahead of me through winding roads and 3 tunnels of 6, 7 & 4 kilometers (the 1st is one lane with pullouts)!
I uttered a phrase for the first time today – “I have beer in my ear.”
I am very lucky that both countries we visited on this journey have great beer cultures. Nancy is not a beer girl but more a wino. Germany had lots of good wein but Iceland does not make any vino so the pickins have been slim.
We are now in the town of Siglo and I am sitting outside still in shorts at 5:45 pm. This is a fishing town and we managed to be on the dock while a boat was unloading
I’ve mentioned before about the endless days here. I have 2 pics to illustrate- 1 shot at 11 pm last night and the other of the same little piazza at 5 this morning (it is hard to sleep when there are no blackout curtains- lucky we brought eye shades! (I am not sure without looking at the time stamp on the photos which is which.)
Well, consider yourself caught up with the latest chapter of this glorious trip. As George Harrison said, All Things Must Pass and this adventure is no exception, alas. We have only 3 more days before heading home (to plan the next trip, no doubt).
Here is my view now
Time to have a beer!
Nancy and Chris