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Yesterday (Wednesday 22 June) we were in Akureyri, in North Iceland. This is very close to the Arctic Circle – the town is at about 66° N, and it sits at the southern end of a long fjord. The weather decided to smile on us – we arrived to broken cloud with patches of blue sky, and it improved steadily through the day. Temperatures weren’t high – it reached perhaps 12° or so – but the wind was very low so when we were in the sun it felt warm.


We were booked on an excursion, “Jewels of the North”. This was five and a half hours with visits to four sites, and included refreshments. The description promised 1 3/4 hours of walking, but in practice I don’t think it managed that. The sites included the Godofoss waterfall; an area of geo-thermal activity; and then two spots where there were strange lava formations in the landscape. These last two were in separate locations close to Lake Myrvaten, which is described as one of the highlights of northern Iceland. And of course the other highlight was driving through Iceland itself and enjoying the wide-open landscape.

I suppose that the excursion just about met its description. However, there was a lot of time spent on the coach and the “1 3/4 hours walking” was actually split between the various sites, so nowhere got more than 30 minutes. This was a pity as we felt a bit rushed everywhere we went. At Godofoss, for example, we’d have loved to have maybe an hour to enjoy and explore it, but that wasn’t possible – 25 minutes was it. It also didn’t help that there were at least three other P&O coaches doing the same excursion, so when we arrived at Godofoss we were among a good 200 people scrambling around. (I leave you to imagine the queue for the loo at one stop with three coaches arriving…) But it was better than not seeing the sites, and thanks to the weather everything looked wonderful.

The weather did produce one drawback. The sunshine and comparative warmth, together with the low wind, meant that Iceland’s equivalent of midges were out in force, especially at the sites around Lake Myrvaten. Fortunately the geothermal area, with its sulphur-accented clouds, was much less affected.

We got back to the ship at 3:45 which was actually about fifteen minutes late. Then we sat and relaxed for a couple of hours before sail away. This turned out to be very special – the weather had continued clearing and for most of our progress up the fjord we were in bright sunshine with excellent views over the mountains on either side.

The clear weather continued throughout the evening and I resolved to take a “midnight sun” picture at the appropriate moment. In the event the fog rolled over the ship around 11pm but I resolved to take the picture anyway. By 11:45 or so Azura was sounding her fog horn so I wasn’t expecting much, but just before midnight they fell silent and I got the image below. Not bad in the circumstances, and it certainly shows that there was still daylight at midnight. It’s possible that if I’d gone up to a high deck I might have been above the mist.



Tomorrow (today as I write this) we’re in Isafjordur. I’ll publish a post about it tomorrow, but here’s a spoiler: it was very different!

One Response to “Akureyri”

  1. I’m enjoying your updates and photos Tom, your excursion in Akureyri sounds identical to one we took way back in 2004 on the original Adonia (including being rushed and the midges!). Happy cruising!

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