Driving Northern Iceland’s Coast — Day 5
It was a pretty plan-less day today, as I set out to see the coast of North Iceland. I made a few scenic stops that my handy Lonely Planet travel guide suggested would be worth a stop.
I headed north from Akureyri up to the northern most point of my trip. Although it was a rainy day, the scenery was ah-maz-ing.
I stopped at a bakery named Aðalbakarí in Siglufjörður for a late breakfast. Their specialty was a thick sweetened bread with licorice flavoring (and pink icing). I was told that people come from all over just to buy it. I also had another traditional Icelandic food that resembled a less sweet and dense donut hole with raisins. Both were absolutely delicious!
So, the one thing I wasn’t too keen on today was having to go through a SINGLE lane tunnel under a ginormous mountain. Nope, there weren’t traffic signals to guide the vehicles. If you saw another car coming on your left, you pulled off to the side and got the hell out of the way. Luckily, I was behind a local trucker who showed me what to do. OMG, never again!
Here’s the northern-most point I’ve ever been called Tröllaskagi. (Latitude: 65° 56' 35.39" N). I believe it edges the Greenland Sea but I’m not 100% about that. I shouted over the pond to Santa Claus that my niece, Avery, needs to be on his “nice” list this year for her first Christmas!
I even made a few new friends along the way. My tour guide from Tuesday, “Buddy” (who was having the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day), explained that when Iceland was founded by the Scandinavian royals, they brought their very best horses along with them to inhabit the island. To this day, Icelandic horses, which are smaller yet stockier than American horses, are suppose to be some of the most intelligent and friendly horses in the world. Well, I think they were right. 🐴
This little guy was an absolute ham and loved having his picture taken (especially the selfie). Hmm, reminds me of another furry, white creature I know. 🐶
I stopped for lunch at placed called Olafshus in Sauðárkrókur. The building was Colts blue and white so I knew it had to be an omen! Doritos as a salad topping. Very weird and surprising that it’s not a thing in the U.S. (at least not yet). I’m trying to get my fill of Icelandic seafood since it’s absolutely dynamite. For lunch, it was fried haddock (but not gross, fatty fried like in the U.S.), prawns, mushrooms and potatoes.
My last stop of the day was to see Iceland’s famous “stone creature,” Hvitserkur. Icelandic folklore says that Hvitserkur was a troll that was caught by the sunlight while attempting to destroy a local monastery. I think he looks like a stone rhino taking a drink!
And now, I’m at my guesthouse in Hvammstangi, where I’m making some more new friends — like Coco the hunting dog and four 4-week-old kittens! My host Helga and her family are an absolute delight (AirBnB is 2 for 2!) and proved, yet again, what a small world we live in. As we were chatting, she told me that she had been an exchange student in Upstate New York (near Ithaca), loved chicken wings and used to listen to Buffalo radio. Whoa. Mind blown!
Just when my day couldn’t have been any better, she invited myself and another couple from France to join her and her husband for dinner. And we all had a ball. It was so wonderful for people from three different countries to come together for a delicious meal and lovely conversation. And it turns out, we’re not all really that “different.” :) (Shocking, I know!)
I can’t believe my trip is now over halfway over! Tomorrow, I have around a two-hour drive to West Iceland and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, where I’ll visit Snæfellsjökull National Park, also famously known as the setting of the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.