On our second day in Iceland, we took the Ring Road (Route 1) north to Akureyri. Our first detour was along the fjord Hvalfjörthur rather than taking the tunnel. We saw a number of lovely waterfalls, and many, many sheep (which I failed to photograph).
We also stopped in Borgarnes, following a recommendation in Lonely Planet, but we weren’t impressed. It’s one of the few times, however, that Lonely Planet has led us astray.
Our next stop was Grabrok, a crater next to the Ring Road that none of our travel guides bothered to mention in any detail. In fact, Lonely Planet was the only one that mentioned it at all, and that only in passing. If it hadn’t been right on the Ring Road, we would have missed it completely. So it probably wasn’t surprising that we only heard Icelandic (or perhaps other Scandinavian languages) while we were hiking among the lava fields.
By that time, it was getting fairly late in the afternoon, and we still had over 250 kilometers to Akureyri, which would be our home base for the next three days. In order to get there in time to still get some dinner, we drove mostly straight through, only stopping briefly at a few scenic points.
Akureyri is the second biggest city in Iceland outside of the greater Reykjavik area, with a whopping total population of 17,000. But while Reykjavik had been pretty cool while we were there, Akureyri was sunny and warm, over 20 C at our evening arrival (around 70 F) — and that not far from the arctic circle. There has to be some funky, mild weather pattern at sway there, and not just a fluke warm spell; the town struck me as amazingly verdant. We saw a lot more flowers in Akureyri than we had in Reykjavik, even roses!
We walked through the botanical gardens near our vacation rental, past another imposing church, and through another old part of town. Soon we started looking at more menus, finally settling on Icelandic sushi, a creative interpretation of Japanese cuisine, with tempura lobster, variations on crab, and a lobster soup for starter. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the food that time, but I do have pictures of the town:
And here’s a picture of wild growing monster rhubarb for my dad *g*: