The first two of our three scheduled stops in Iceland were Akuryri on the north end of the island, and Isafjodur on the northwest. Both are small towns existing mainly for fishing and a bit of farming. Now that they are on the tourist map some of the locals have purchased vans and ave started to provide tours. Yesterday we were driven around by a gentleman who lived a bit out of town (just about everything is out of town) who, in addition to driving the school bus and local taxi, had a farm, raised sheep, and harvested eiderdown from the thousands of eider ducks that nest on his property each spring. Apparently, the majority of the world’s eiderdown comes from Iceland. Who knew?
Both days were filled with eyepopping scenery and amazing geologic features – waterfalls from melting glaciers, bubbling hot mud puddles, steam vents, fiords and lava rock formations. It’s like walking through a National Geographic magazine! It’s rugged and mostly untouched, but that will undoubtedly change as more tourists arrive. For now though, no MacDonalds, Starbucks or even traffic lights!
Our last stop in Iceland was two days in Reykjavik, the capital city. Unlike the rest of the country, Reykjavik is a modern bustling city with high rises, highways and lots of cars. But it only takes a short ride to once again be immersed in the rugged beauty of the island. Our tour outside of the city included the famous geysers, more spectacular waterfalls and the national park.
Next – on to Greenland!