Puffin Watch (and also how to be a Viking)
Howdy all. Hope you are all well! Me, I’m buggered. It is close to midnight again and yes, the sun has still not gone down. And it has been a looong day. But let me backtrack.
Re-reading yesterday’s post I notice it was heavy on the photos and lighter on the stories. I think it was mostly because last night I was catching up with a couple of posts, but also because it was close to 1am, and I figured I should try and get some sleep. Hopefully I elaborate a little more in this one. Oh, and glad some of you enjoyed the whale!
This morning we left our lodgings at Langaholt, and headed north toward the fishing village of Stykkisholmus, where a couple of hours in the Breidafjordur would be awaiting us. It was a bit of a drive, but like has been the case every day we would stop at random places to see sheer cliffs, craters, or somesuch. This time was no exception. However if you ask me where it was, sorry to say I am having trouble remembering the name of every 16-letter place (complete with umlauts) that we are stopping at.
We arrived in Stykkisholmus and had a casual cuppa and explore before jumping on board our boat. It was a quaint town, in many respects much more what I expected of these small Icelandic towns… Scandinavian looking houses, small churches… the stereotypical Scandinavian village.
After a bit we jumped on and headed out into the fjord. This was a very wide fjord (much wider than others I have been in in Norway and NZ) and was littered with thousands of islands. Most importantly though, it was littered with PUFFINS!
Yes, we got to spy our first puffins. Kate was super quick on the camera, and proceeded to capture all our good photos of our feathered friends.
And did I say we saw puffins? Oh yeah. We were both stoked. We still intend to see more when we go out whale and puffin watching from Reykjavik, but this was a great start.
We also got to see a heap of other bird life during the chilly, but pleasant, boat ride. But really… I was in it for the puffins.
After a bit and announcement came over to head to the back of the boat. What greeted us was a sample of what they had dredged up from the sea floor. What could it be?
Our boating hosts proceeded to open up what they could and let us dig in to some raw sea treats. Scallops and sea urchin roe were plentiful and I must say went down a treat. Mmmmm.
We also got to play with some crabs and starfish which was an unexpected treat.
After a bit over 2 hours our trip came to an end, where we spent the next hour having lunch about Stykkisholmus and popping into a local arts and crafts store, where both Kate and I picked up some goodies. I finally got a nice hand-knitted authentic Icelandic beanie. My head will now be nice and toasty at the footy when I get back.
From there we had a bit of driving to do to reach our next destination, Eiriksstadir, home of the famed Erik the Red and his son Leifr. While David our guide had prepared us a little, this wasn’t what I was expecting. I was thinking we were in for a museum visit, but what we had was a recreation of Erik’s home, almost exactly where it stood a 1000 years ago. The best part was that it wasn’t a dry museum visit, but story telling by our Icelandic friend at the top of this blog post. She was in character, and a complete character.
Sitting in the dark cabin, we proceeded to be told tales of Erik and Leifr, complete with dress ups. If it sounds hokey, it was a little. But it was also heaps of fun, and a great way to present the tales.
With tales of bloodshed and discovery under our belts, it was time to head south to climb another crater, this time Grabok. This one was quite different to the Eldborg crater of a couple of days ago. Parking at the base it was a quick hike to the top. I really dug this one as it had the feel of entering a lava field and really feeling inside the crater.
Unlike Eldborg, Grabok had a gap in the side where the lava had blown out many many years ago. But it made for an amazing quick hike. In some ways I dug it more than the bigger Eldborg crater.
All pooped from a big day of travelling, it was time to head to our final lodgings in the Thingvellir area. David indicated we were going to be going a bit cross country, and he was not wrong. Technically we were still on a road, but it was not much of a road. Gravel really. But it was amazing. We cut through the heart of southern Iceland, through desolate moon-like terrain, arriving in an amazing green rift-valley. Iceland is a country of contrasts, but no more than in the space of half an hour.
So we arrived quite late into tonights lodgings. I was going to pass typing this up tonight (it is now the stroke of midnight), but I thought I would get it out there while fresh in my mind. Tomorrow is another hectic day of Geysirs and Waterfalls. YES.