Woke up at 5.00am after a decent nights sleep & wrote my blog that I had started the night before & accidentally published.
After getting ready, I went down to get a couple of coffees & the owner gave me today’s weather forecast “Shiddy”. Apparently it was going to remain shitty until Saturday. After packing & loading up, we said our goodbyes & drove down to the port & parked up.
We scaled the steps & foot path to Súgandisey Lighthouse, where we were battered by gale-force horizontal sleet. A couple of quick photos at the top was about all we could manage of the Denmark Strait & back towards Stykkishólmur.
After being blown back down to the car, we drove to a bakery for a breakfast of pizza & pastries, then we filled up with 5,000 Icelandic Krona worth of fuel at a Q8 garage, where we had a fob to get some discount.
We then set off to our destination, Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city & the capital of the north. The SatNav wanted to take us back the way we had come yesterday to get back on to the Route 1 Ring Road, but I thought I knew better.
We headed back down Highway 58, but turned off left on to Highway 54, which was an unmade road. My shortcut was a 30 mile trek along the unmade road hugging the northern shore of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which would have been okay, but snow was settling on the road and we were being buffeted by the wind.
Over an hour later, we sighed with relief, that we hadn’t punctured, when we turned left on to Highway 60, but before long we had turned onto the mountain pass known as Highway 59. The road was again unmade, but driving conditions were deteriorating and snow drifts were forming on the road.
After an age we reached Highway 68 & drove south through Borðeyri until we eventually reached the Route 1 Ring Road. We followed the Ring Road clockwise, until we arrived at Blönduós. Annoyingly we missed visiting Kolugljufur waterfall that had been on my itinerary. Jackie had been in charge of the directions at that time. Just saying!
In Blönduós we filled up with 10,000 Icelandic Krona worth of more fuel & stopped at a service station for a coffee & a toastie. I also bought an authentic Icelandic woollen hat as my souvenir of Iceland.
After this pit stop, our route took us up the 74, then the snow covered 744 to our next stop of Sauðárkrókur, where we were expecting to see some brightly painted houses. We eventually found the street in question & let’s just say it was a scruffy disappointment!
We swiftly moved on & picked up Highway 76 that skirts around the mountainous Tröllaskagi Peninsula, where many of the mountains are in excess of 1000 metres high. The guidebook described our coastal route as ‘only for those with a penchant for getting off the beaten track’, but the 186 km route would provide magical scenery. Perfect!
We stopped at Hofsós, famous for it’s infinity swimming pool & adjacent ‘Hot-Pot’ on the cliff. After a quick photo we commenced our off the beaten track drive. Very quickly the driving conditions got worse with driving snow battering the Duster as the windy road clung to the bottom of the mountains. Occasionally we could see the choppy fjord at the bottom of the cliffs almost waiting for us to skid off into it. Every so often we saw groups of Icelandic horses, which this region is famous for, huddled together in the fields. Otherwise everything was just a whiteout. So much for the magical scenery!
Finally we reached Iceland’s most northerly mainland town of Siglufjordhur, which is just 28 miles from the Arctic Circle. It once was a bustling town employing 10,000 Herring Fish workers, but now it apparently attracts tourists for the hiking & scenery, as well as being the film set for an Icelandic TV murder series, Trapped.
We didn’t stop, but drove through two long mountain tunnels to get to the seemingly busy town of Ólafsfjörður, which stunk of fish. We took a photo of the indoor swimming pool. The guidebook described it as ‘beautifully locked between mountain & fjord’ and due to lack of visibility we’ll just have to take it’s word for that.
We left Ólafsfjörður via another mountain tunnel & travelled south at ever increasing speeds as the road conditions improved. We passed through Dalvík & I was able to put my foot down. The maximum speed limit in Iceland is 90 kph, but I was ‘racing along’ at over 110 kph, when I got flashed by a police officer driving the other way. I consider this to be a badge of honour!
We arrived at Akureyri just after 6pm & parked up on the street near to the Centrum Guesthouse. It was a relief to stretch the legs after an 8 hour drive over a distance of 445 kilometres.
We checked into the guest house, dumped our rucksacks & went downstairs to the Centrum Kitchen & Bar for an expensive, but well deserved Arctic Circle White Beer. We ordered dinner of Langoustine Soup for Jackie, while I had the rack of pork ribs & we shared a portion of truffle chips. We could have done without the chips, but the pork ribs were gorgeously melt in the mouth & sparrow appetite Jackie nearly ate all of her soup! It was an excellent meal & the busy restaurant had a nice ambience.
By 9pm we were again truly knackered & out like a light.
Song of the Day: The Road is Dark and Snowed by Jesse Marchant.Read more