Deb and I got an early start as we signed up for an Ice Cave tour the night before. We booked our tour through Glacier Guides (glacierguides.is) and we had to be at Skaftafell by 8:30am, where their guide shop was located. Once we arrived, we were given crampons and an ice ax and were loaded onto a bus. Unfortunately the weather was too windy that day on the glacier due to the large temperature differential between the glacier and ground temperature. This yielded conditions too unsafe to trek to the ice cave. After a 15 minute bus ride to the trailhead, we hiked most of the way out to the glacier for a photo op and that was the end of our tour.
The guide service apologized, but stressed that safety was their main concern which you can’t argue with. Although we were a little bummed out, they issued us a full refund, which I thought was good form. Next time ice caves. As a side note, the ice cave season typically ends right around the time we were there, so keep that in mind. With it being extremely windy out, we opted not to go for another hike and check out some of the sights between the Skaftafell entrance and Hofn. Our first stop took us to Diamond Beach, which was r ight off of Route 1 on the beach side. It’s a collection of large ice blocks that flow out of Glacier Bay and end up on or around the beach. It’s just one more of Iceland’s unique geographical treasures.
Across the street is Glacier Bay, which is home to many various sized icebergs. You can watch some of them flow out of the channel towards Diamond Beach. We made it back to Hofn in time to hit the grocery store (Netto ), which was conveniently locate
a block from Apotek Guesthouse, where we were staying for a second night. We picked up food for lunch and to snack on for the rest of our trip. Prices were extremely reasonable in comparison to restaurant prices.
It was raining now in conjunction with it being cold and windy, so we took this opportunity to relax for a bit before heading out to dinner. We ended up at Nyhofn Nordic Bistro for dinner where we indulged on more langostino.
Friday, 30 March 2017 _ That’s What a Fjord Is
Fjord – a long, narrow arm of the sea bordered by steep cliffs: usually formed by glacial erosion. Fjord was the word of the day as we drove the 6 – 7 hours or so from Hofn to Akureyri. It was a very scenic drive while navigating through the multitude of fjords. We stopped in Eglisstadir for lunch at a spot called Salt; their burgers and pizza were pretty tasty. After that, we only stopped one other time at a geothermal site which was right off of the road. There were plenty of sites we could have stopped at, but wanted to get to Akureyri with some daylight left.
As we rounded our last fjord, we made it to Akureyri. We drove through town and checked into our lodging for the night at Skjaldarvik Guesthouse (skjaldarvik.is/en) . This was probably the coolest spot we stayed in Iceland and is located on the water just outside of Akureyri. Our room was enormous and the location had great artistic taste. Deb and I wasted no time and jumped in the outdoor hot tub with a wine and a local Icelandic IPA. Amongst the snow-capped mountains, we had it to ourselves, which I was told doesn’t happen too often. Life was good.
After the hot tub, we said hi to the dogs and took a self-guided tour of the property. This included a walk by the water, a stop at the stables, and up the hill a bit to the pastures. A word to the wise, DO NOT touch the wires surrounding the pastures. Even if your girlfriend tells you they couldn’t possibly be electric. You WILL get shocked. You WILL spill half your beer.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
With Akureyri being the 2 nd largest town in Iceland, we showered up and made our way downtown for dinner. We received a solid recommendation from the guesthouse staff and decided to check out Rub23 (rub23.is) . Since Iceland apparently doesn’t know how to make bad food, this place also fell on the AMAZING list. We opted to do the 5-course chef fixed menu and each course was a winner. We also signed up for wine pairings, which was pricey, but they made up for it with generous pours.