August 09, Akureyri, Iceland

We arrived in Akureyri after traveling down a beautiful fiord for about 15 miles. The weather was looking much better, sunny and a pleasant 60 degrees.

This town of 14,000 is the second largest city in Iceland. It is located on the north-western part of the island, just below the Arctic Circle (which we crossed twice during the night). Its setting is superb and sunny days are the norm in this small and tidy city planted beneath perpetually snow-capped peeks near the head of Eyjafjorour. Akureyri began as a trading center just before the Dnish Trade Monopoly of 1602 came into effect. Although the town was used for commercial enterprises, no one actually lived there as all the settlers maintained rural farms and homesteads. After business had boomed for a century and a half, Akureyri’s first actual residence was built in 1777. By the late 1700’s the town had grown to a whopping 10 residents, all Danish traders. By the turn of the century, Akureyri numbered 1370 people. The Akureyri Fishing Company is Iceland’s largest, and the city’s shipyard is also the busiest in the country. Before the decline in herring stocks off northern Iceland, herring salting was the city’s largest industry. Fishing remains important, but the emphasis is now on trawling, canning and freezing larger fish. Akureyri’s expanding industrial base includes such diverse enterprises as brewing, food processing and tourism.

Today Kay and I took a private tour with a couple from Fort Worth, TX. We had communicated via email having met on the Cruise Critic Forum. Even though we have all been on the ship for almost four weeks, we didn’t actually meet until a couple of days ago. Donna and Rex Hunt are a very pleasant couple and we had a most enjoyable day sharing a vehicle and driver/guide. We had a seven hour private tour with a most excellent guide for a fraction of the cost of a ship excursion which would not have experienced nearly as many sites. Thank you Donna and Rex for allowing us to share this trip you planned.

As has been the case this trip, the formatting after uploading the blog has been very poor. Therefore I will mostly just post some photos from the wonderful sites we visited.

First, just a couple more facts about Iceland. Although it is a very small country, it contains the largest glacier in Europe and also the largest desert in Europe. Akueyri also has the northern most 18 hole golf course in the world. We again were able to visit the fissure (which runs the length of the country) where the North American and European tectonic plates separate. I have a photo of Kay standing with one foot technically in Europe and one in North America! Also in some of the photos you may notice there was a lot of wind. It is evident in some of the lake photos. Our guide who is a native of the city said it was the most wind she has ever experienced.

 

The Maasdam at dock viewed from across the fiord

Godafoss Falls – Legion is this is where the king threw all the old idols after adapting Christianity for Iceland

The next several photos are of Lake Myvatn. It is a most unusual and beautiful lake which was formed from a large volcanic area which was partially covered with water. Volcanic craters and collapsed magna chambers are still very evident.

 

Notice the windblown ripples on the water

Kay and Donna, wind blown by the 40-50 mph winds.

 

Kay with one foot on the North American plate and one on the European plate

A hydro-thermal power plant. This one has over 30 bore holes which captures the super heated water to generate electricity.

Under these metal plates are holes where local ladies bring bread to bake by the natural volcanic heat of the ground. It is black bread which takes 24 hours to cook. They then sell it to local shops and hotels. I had sample and it was very good.

A Public Hydro-Thermal Bath

 

 

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