After a couple of days in the Mývatn Region, it was time to start making our way back to Reykjavík, via Akureyri and the North Highlands. Driving to Akureyri, we made one stop along the shore of the long fjord, Eyjafjörður. It was a dual-purpose stop: to find a geocache and to photograph the little orange lighthouse that contrasted so beautifully against the water and rare blue sky.
Between our early evening arrival in Iceland’s second largest urban area and our departure the following morning, we walked more than 15 km. As we explored the main shopping streets and strolled along the shoreline pathway system, we noticed a lot of similarities between Akureyri and Reykjavík:
- Coastal cities with extensive pathways along their shorelines
- Distinctive concert halls (Reykjavík has the Harpa; Akureyri has the Hof)
- Public laundromats – in fact, Akureyri has the only public laundromat in Iceland outside of Reykjavík. It’s a one washer/one dryer operation at Akureyri Backpackers. Cost? The equivalent of about C$10 for the washer and another C$10 for the dryer. Since most of our clothing requires the “low” temperature dryer setting, we had to run the dryer twice, bringing the total cost for our one load of laundry to about C$30!! Upon reflection, there are two things we could have done to avoid this cost. First, pack more underwear and socks. Second, pack some Campsuds and make use of the “shower laundry” wherever we were staying more than one night (to allow ample drying time).
- Sculptures by Icelandic artist Jón Gunnar Árnason (Reykjavík has Sólfar (“The Traveler/Voyager of the Sun”); Akureyri has Sigling (Sail))
- Church as major landmark (Reykjavík has Hallgrímskirkja; Akureyri has Akureyrarkirkja)
- Great hamburgers at Hamborgara Fabrikkan
- Plenty of public art (including Vikings and polar bears on their main shopping streets and murals)
There were three things unique to Akureyri: heart-shaped stop lights, an interesting shadow from an Indian takeaway place and an amazing bakery!
We stocked up on fresh bread and pastries at the bakery so we were suitably provisioned for an overnight stay at a remote location in the North Highlands. One of the best decisions of our two week holiday!