Day 6 (June 26th)
Our first long stop was in Glambauer at the Skagafjordur Folk Museum. This was by far the best museum we visited on the road in Iceland depicting early life of the settlers here in the 1800s. The interior was restored to the condition it would be if all 22 residents were still using it as home. Remarkable. It was a tour through time.
Further to the northeast we arrived at Hólar a center of religion in Iceland for seven centuries. Now a school with about 100 residents. It also has a stable for 120 horses. We also saw an ongoing archaeological dig across the road from the main buildings.
There were many opportunities to stop along the way and capture the expansive glaciated valleys. Like waterfalls, there are so many, it almost became routine.
Along the crest of most roads crossing the many higher ranges, there were also survival huts. Placed there for winter transits as a stop of last resort if one’s transportation fails.
Siglufjörður was once a prosperous town in the hey day of herring fisheries with 450 ships. Poor fisheries management led to the collapse of the fishery in the 1960’s and it took much of the town’s economy with it. The setting has not changed however, it is starkly beautiful with sweeping valleys and steep mountainsides leading to the sea.
It also must be reached via the one lane 800 m. Strákar Tunnel. A route that is sometimes closed in the winter cutting off the town from the rest of the island. If it were easier to get to I am sure it would be a very hip place to see and be seen. It is also further north in latitude (66.11) by one degree than I traveled south in February on the Antarctic peninsula. We toured a museum dedicated to the lives of the herring fishermen and their business. It was a hard dangerous life, in cramp, and often cold quarters.
South again, late as usual, we called the hotel in Akureyri to let them know we would not arrive before 8 p.m. But not before driving through one of the longest tunnels in Iceland, if not the longest, it courses through rock for 3.1 km. and is one lane with frequent turn outs for the oncoming cars. Not for the claustrophobic or anyone who does not like a good game of "chicken" (head to head driving).
No sooner had we arrived at our hotel, did we turn around and head back to Akureyri for dinner at "Fridrik V." We rushed as we were concerned that the restaurants would be closing soon and it was already 9 p.m. We had in retrospect no need for concern.
This was the most high-end restaurant we had seen in Iceland, and opted for the "gourmet menu" which was the chef’s choice, and our surprise. We were eating and drinking to after midnight… reindeer pate, fresh trout with a side of smoked eel (freshwater) soup (simply amazing), mussels with pesto pasta, rack of lamb (perfect!), and an assortment of desserts… accompanied by port, white wine, a bold red, and for me a Grand Marnier at the end. By the time we returned to the room, downloaded out data/images of the day… it was almost 2 a.m. We had a bit of a laugh about that as we had made it to "dawn". Sunrise was at 1:45 a.m. Mind you, it had only "set" at 12:36 a.m. At left is a photo of me in the parking lot at 1 a.m. It never gets dark. I fell asleep with my soon-to-be-exercise-regime fixed in my mind.