Day Eight, Circular trip from Akureyri.
As we were based in Akureyri for two nights, this gave us the opportunity to tour some of the northern peninsular and venture off the A1 Ring Road for a while.
Back in the 4×4 we headed north out of town and picked up route 82, immediately the hustle bustle of a larger town has gone & we’re back on the quiet deserted Icelandic roads.
Iceland’s historical past has partially revolved around whale hunting, although nowadays the tracking of whales is mainly for tourism or scientific reasons. However, we came across this sculpture of a whale tail and had to stop.
In this part of Iceland as with many others, fishing is still a large part of the day to day life, and as we toured through the small communities such as Dalvík & Ólafsfjörður, it is very evident, that this continues.
We also stumbled upon was some great street art.
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Then came the tunnels
Heading further north we pick up route 76, and along here there are some very interesting tunnels, channelled into the sides of mountains, one was built as recently as 2010.
Well, when I say ‘interesting’ Gary & I weren’t quite prepared that partially through the narrow dark tunnel, priority was for oncoming traffic and we had to pull over into a layby that was bored out in the side of the tunnels rock face.
There’s a first time for everything!
Nearer the most northern tip of the headland, we pass through the small colourful fishing town of Siglufjörður. Nestled along a fjord, its heritage during the 1940’s and 50’s was the buoyant herring industry.
Although the herring are now gone, fishing is still a large part of this community, and you sense an element of pride within the town to maintain its picturesque upkeep.
Not a bad idea
We went distinctly low tech with a traditional foldout paper map for our Icelandic adventure.
Sure we'd mapped our route out beforehand, and we're using 'Etta's' inbuilt GPS. But somehow there's nothing better than checking your plans out the old fashioned way the night before your next adventure.
Far as the eye can see
We reach the furthest north, we intend to journey on this trip, and after travelling along mainly tarmac roads and an occasional gravel one, all that stretches beyond are blue seas as far as the eye can see.
With a glimpse in the far distance to the east is Grímsey, an Icelandic island straddling the Arctic Circle.
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I’ll say it again
Trying not to be too repetitive but once again the scenery is incredible. In the depths of winter, the small towns and villages must almost be inaccessible by land.
We now continue our journey south down the 76 passing snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes. Jumping back onto the Ring Road, we then travel east and return to Akureyri.
Now I know what you are thinking, there is one thing missing from a winter Icelandic road trip, yes ICE CREAM…
I had read about this ice-cream parlour prior to leaving the UK, and I thought I must give it a try. After a brief conversation just involving pointing, I managed to order a couple of ice creams.
Take a stroll
We had a wander around the colourful fishing town of Akureyri, which was first settled upon in the 9th century. Not only is it warming to the eye, but its traffic lights are also quite friendly too.
We discovered Laxdalshús, Akureyri’s oldest house which was built in 1795, and at the time would have been along the shores of the fjord and where merchants wanted to live.
Just a little further along is Nonnahús, built in 1850 and was the home of Jón Sveinsson, “Nonni”, who wrote children’s books.
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The route that we took today included a mixture of roads, mostly around route 82 and 76 and then hopping back on to the Ring Road into Akureyri.
In total, our journey was about 268km (166 miles) and with all the stops took us about 5 1/2 hours.
Highlight of the Day
Every trip Gary and I go on, whether it’s a mini-break near or far or a road trip we chose a ‘Highlight of the Day’, here they are for day 8.
Janis; The scenery along the coastal route was amazing, and I love it that it is so peaceful.
Gary; It has to be those tunnels - amazing to drive through. Along with Janis I agree, the scenery was stunning.
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Where we stayed
For the two nights, we were based in Akureyri; we stayed at Hotel Kea, in the centre of town. The hotel was comfortable and had a broad range of facilities.
The only issue was that it had limited parking on site and certain in town areas of Akureyri require a parking disc. The hotel gave us a disc; however, it works on time restrictions.
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