Thursday, September 15, 2016

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Cruise Day 26 - Akureyri, Iceland

Happy anniversary to us!  Today is our 34th wedding anniversary and we get to celebrate it in Iceland.  How lucky we are to celebrate Val’s birthday in Norway and our anniversary in Iceland.

Today we are in Akureyri, Iceland which is on the north coast of Iceland.  It is known as the Capitol of the North and has a population of just over 18,000. It is the fourth largest city in Iceland and second largest urban area.  Akureyri is at the end of Eylafjordur, which at 38 miles long is the longest fjord in Iceland.  The sail in was very beautiful, but we spent most of it sleeping as we sailed in early.

It was a beautiful sail in through the Eylafjordur, and the fog layers added to it's beauty. Although gray skies are not the best for taking pictures.


Our tour today was a private tour arranged by Nancy on the Cruise Critic Roll Call.  We met on the pier at 8:00, found our tour group and we were soon on our way.  There were eight of us in an eight person van so we were very tightly packed in.  Unlike the clear sunny weather we had on our trip east, our return has been mostly overcast and today that trend continued.  Our first stop was a spot across the bay from Akureyri.

The Rotterdam docked at Akureyri.
Next we stopped at the Godafoss waterfalls.  Many of the waterfalls in Iceland are huge!

We next stopped at Myvatn Lake, which wasn't too exciting, but there were numerous swans and the surrounding countryside was beautiful.

Salt and pepper.  Swans and black ducks.

Our next stop was another lake (which I don't know the name of), but the attraction was the rock formations formed by volcanic rock.

To maximize our time we decided to skip lunch and just bring snacks with us so we ate on the fly today.  Val and I brought a couple of sandwiches from the ship before we left and that worked out well.  We next visited Dimmuborgir, which is a large area of unusually shaped lava fields.  There were many pathways that led everywhere and we could have easily gotten lost so our guide stayed with us for our hike.

Iceland is where the North American and European plates meet and there is a fault in Iceland that runs from North to South that marks this divide.  In the picture below I am straddling the fault with my right foot in North America and my left in Europe.

After Dimmuborgir we moved on to Dettifoss waterfalls, which are the most powerful waterfalls in Europe.  The falls are330 feet wide and 150 feet high and quite spectacular.

Dave with the waterfall roaring down behind him.

There were other waterfalls in the area, but we didn't have time to hike to them.
It was getting late, but before returning to the ship we made a couple more stops.  The first was the Namafjall thermal area, but we barely had time to get out of the van.

Our last stop of the day was the Myvatn Nature Bath.  This is an area similar to the Blue Lagoon, but not nearly as big or as crowded. Icelanders love their geothermal hot water baths.  I think in the winter I would love them too.

It started to get late in the afternoon so we reminded our driver that we had to be back to the ship by 4:30 and he said “no problem”. As you may know, if you are not on a ship sponsored tour, or do not get back to the ship on time for any reason the ship will leave without you.  The driver may not have been worried, but the rest of us were because it was getting closer and closer to 4:30 and sail away time, but we finally made it with five minutes to spare.  That’s cutting it a little too close for me.

We were very glad to get back to our room as we were both worn out from the day.  It wasn’t so much the stops we made, but being crammed four across in the back seat for most of the day was very wearing.  I think if I had a choice, I would rather pay a little more, have less people and be more comfortable.  Lesson learned.

We say good-bye to Akureyri.
As we sailed away a small cruise ship sailed in.
Open seas ahead.
After we returned, I downloaded our pictures, which took a while as we took quite a few.  When I finished it was getting near dinner, but I didn’t feel like trivia tonight so I told Val I’d meet her in the MIX Lounge just before dinner and she could go to trivia without me.  We met for dinner and compared notes with Ken and Mary Beth about our day as they had visited some of the same places we did.

We were surprised at the end of our dinner with a happy anniversary serenade by the dining stewards.  It was a complete surprise to us as we didn’t say anything about it, but we had told Ken and Mary Beth so I suppose they let the dining room know, thank you Ken and Mary Beth!  It was great to be able to celebrate with Ken and Mary Beth and Richard and Glen, a wonderful way to end a wonderful day.

The casino didn’t open until later so after dinner we returned to our room as we were tired and we had to be up early again for an 8:00 tour.  Tomorrow we will be in Isafijordur, Iceland.

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