Northeast Iceland: Volcanoes, Whales and Trails

The Gentle Giants of Húsavík
Húsavík is a quaint fishing village on North Iceland’s Skjálfandi Sound. The village’s ornate wooden church sits perched above its picturesque harbor, and it’s a lovely spot to spend a day or so. After setting up camp for the night at the town’s full-service campground and taking our daily dip in the community hot pots, we caught the Euro Cup Final at a lively restaurant in town.

When it was all over, poor Italy had lost badly to Spain, but things were looking up for us. The strong winds that had plagued us for days had finally blown away, leaving us with beautiful golden light and waters as smooth as glass in the harbor. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll and snapped plenty of pictures of the gorgeously restored wooden fishing boats and their reflections in the mirror-like surface of the water. (more…)

Northwest Iceland: The Road Less Traveled

Home on the Icelandic Range
One of the really fun things about traveling in Iceland is running into things that you really don’t expect to in the middle of nowhere.

On a super-windy and chilly morning, we sadly left the Westfjörds and headed into North Iceland without too many immediate highlights to look forward to in our first day’s path of travel. When our first few attempts at diversion yielded mediocre results, we chalked up the day to travel; sometimes you just need to get from here to there, right?

In a last ditch effort to save the day, we decided to make a detour to the small town (aren’t they all in Iceland?) of Skagasatrönd. This happens to be the home of Hallbjörn Hjartarson, who, for those of you not in the know, is famous throughout the country as the “Icelandic Cowboy.”

As an impressionable youth in the 1960s, he worked on the American base in Keflavik and fell in love with country-western music. Upon his return to Skagasatrönd, he started recording his own Icelandic version of the genre and eventually opened his own successful restaurant/bar/radio station/museum/live music venue that is still open today. What a trip it was to walk into an Icelandic version of an American country-western saloon! (more…)

Touring the Remote Westfjords

Flatey Island: A Taste of the Simple Life

The houses in the village of Flatey

We said goodbye to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and boarded a ferry in Stykkishólmur for the Westfjords. As the ferry works its way through the Breidafjördur, it stops at tiny Flatey Island, where visitors can take a layover if they choose. We were on the afternoon ferry, so we decided to send our car along to the other side and stay on Flatey for the night. Part of the island’s charm is that it is only inhabited by five year-round residents, who just received cell phone coverage thisyear.   (more…)

Beginning Our Adventure in Iceland

Have Wheels Will Travel
We arrived in Reykjavík on June 17 after an overnight flight from JFK in New York. After clearing customs, we were met by a representative from the car rental company, SADCars, that we had booked online. In our research we discovered that this company was the most affordable in Iceland, and, when we saw our rental, we understood why.