Iceland // [Seyðisfjörður, Akureyri, and back to Reykjavík]

After checking out of our cabin, we stopped briefly for a coffee and a quick tour of Djúpivogur.  The town itself was quiet, and, as we’ve found most towns to be, very adorable.  We landed at a small cafe that had friendly faces and hot coffee.  Nothing else was open, so our stay was short.

On our way out of town we stopped by The Eggs of Mary Bay, an outdoor artwork that consists of 34 eggs, one representing each of the species of local birds.  Yours truly loved this, of course.

The road from Djúpivogur to the small, port town of Seyðisfjörður seemed long, even though it was clocked at under three hours.

We covered some beautiful territory, and were lucky enough to have blue skies the whole way, but the roads were icy, and the snow was thick in parts.

 

One of our favorite stops was at a farm called Havarí.  A beautiful, soft spoken woman was operating a small kitchen in a partially remodeled barn.  Coffee, soup, grilled cheese — the small menu was locally sourced and perfectly simple.  Lucky us!

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To access Seyðisfjörður, you must drive over the Fjarðarheiði mountain pass.  In the warm season, I imagine this drive to offer phenomenal views.  But in the winter, the roads were terrifying.  Steep descents on winding, icy roads meant lots of sweating and lots of swearing.

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Because of the weather and often rough roads, the town doesn’t have much happening in the winter.  Only one restaurant was in operation while we were in town.  Skaftfell Bistro has a pretty decent pizza menu and it was sufficient for our adrenaline induced appetites.  It’s somehow associated with the art school that’s located in town, but the details are fuzzy.  The town itself is quite beautiful, with buildings adorned with murals and art installations.  I imagine a vibrant, lively community when the snow thaws.  A Google search of Seyðisfjörður will likely produce an image of a baby blue church with a rainbow walkway leading up to it.  Our stay at the Við Lónið guesthouse was in the perfect location for snapping a few shots — if you reached to the right in the church photo, you’d be touching our front door.

That evening, we were lucky enough to catch the Northern Lights a second night in a row. They weren’t quite as vibrant, and we weren’t quite as remote, but how lucky we felt to witness this magic not once, but TWICE!  We even drove back up in to the mountain pass for a better view.

Although we had limited human encounters, Seyðisfjörður is undoubtedly full of many characters.  We’d love to return to this town in the summer!

On to Akureyri…

This will come as no surprise, but on the way out of town we did stop for a quick horse cuddle.  You really just can’t resist!

One of the only stops we made on the way to the northern capital of Akureyri (aside from gas) was to visit the Goðafoss, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland.  And spectacular it was! 

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Admittedly we didn’t spend much time in the second largest city in Iceland.  Our apartment was located outside of the city, so beyond a delicious fish and chips stop at Akureyri Fish + Chips, we didn’t explore.

Tomorrow’s drive was going to be a long one, with a 6am wakeup and minimum five hour drive back to Reykjavik to complete the Ring Road.  A storm was also rolling in with gale force winds, so we decided to get cozy in our little home for the night.  Knowing the way the roads had been, and that we had a destination deadline this time (flights out as early as 3pm), we were all a little on edge that evening.  We welcomed the down time and wrapped up the day with a homemade meal and pajamas.

The final stretch of the drive from Akureyri back to Reykjavik was dull and exhausting.  The road conditions were poor and there was little to see (though I imagine this leg of the journey to be exceptionally spectacular in the summer based on the vast amounts of green!).  If I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t have reserved this lengthy drive for the final day.  If the Ring Road is on your agenda, and you’re making the drive in the winter, be sure to allow yourself an extra day or two.  Sure, it was doable.  But with the unpredictable weather, a cushion of time is incredibly helpful.

Thankfully we made it safely back to Reykjavik with plenty of time to return the rental and catch our flights.

There was a collective sigh of relief when we reached the airport, but also a deep sadness knowing that our long awaited journey had come to an end.

I haven’t yet been able to completely digest all of the magic we witnessed in those six short days — though recounting them here has kept them fresh — but I know that I can’t wait to plan a trip back in the summer.

Thank you, Iceland, for taking our breath away turn after turn!

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