Friday, 25 April 2014

Iceland 6: An Evening in Akureyri

Being in a large(ish) metropolis (Akureyri has a population of almost 18,000) we noticed that fire hydrants started to sprout up again.  This one was more helpful than the previous specimen, giving not only a date (1988) but also a Maker's name (Mueller) and location of origin (Albertville Alabama).

The skies were leaden when we walked around, and the ground was still very wet from the afternoon's drenching.  Even so, it soon became clear that Akureyri was rather different to Reykjavik: much smaller for a start, but also much more stylish.  The building below is the city's high school.

The hotel was very close to the Botanic Gardens, so we dropped in to have a look around.  Remarkably colourful compared to the surrounding countryside, but I was pleased to see a bed of the obligatory purple lupins.

Akureyri is just South of the Arctic Circle, and is built on one side of a long fjord with relatively steep sides.  As a result it's an excellent natural harbour, and acts as a magnet for large cruise ships.  At midsummer the sun almost sets while also shining its light straight down the length of the fjord; and - depending on the weather - this can be truly spectacular (apparently).  Sadly we were there a couple of weeks too late, and also the sun was in short supply...

The flight of steps down into the town from the Cathedral up on the hill.

Harriet perusing the menu of a rather wonderful Kaffi, which did us proud for dinner.  Excellent, simple, home-cooked food; and (by Icelandic standards) not outrageously expensive.

The main street was completely different to anywhere I'd been before.  The buildings were still clad in the standard corrugated metal sheets, but the architecture was attractive and the colours cheerful.  I'm pleased to see that "Grocer's Apostrophe" is alive and well outside the UK too.

We kept encountering rather wonderful wooden sculptures/carvings, although I never discovered who the artist was.  The skier with goggles was inside the hotel we were staying, and the remainder were in a gallery (which was sadly, closed, owing to the fact it was almost 23:00 when we discovered it).  Of course, being Icelend in July, there was still plenty of light around.

I particularly liked the sheep, but couldn't fit one in my suitcase...