Iceland summer 2014: Borgarnes to Akureyri

When we left the story on Saturday night, I was still feeling a bit dizzy but ok when upright and enjoying walking around the headland at Borgarnes, seeing fluffy ducklings and a redshank.
On Sunday it was time to move on. After a breakfast of cardboardy cereal, warm apple juice but perfect orange juice and lovely hot buttered toast fresh from two trips through the very exciting conveyor toaster, I smuggled the tent out to the car, did another quick walk around my circuit to make sure I was definitely ok when upright, stopped at the roadhouse for petrol and juice and headed north.
The journey itself was fairly unremarkable – four hours across lava fields, low mountain passes, past long flat-topped ridges of mountain which gained a smattering of snow as I went further.
25ish minutes out of Borgarnes, I came to the university town of Bifröst. Hafnarfjordur gets called “the town in the lava” but it’s a much more fitting name for Bifröst, literally carved into the middle of a lava field and loomed over by two reddish scoria volcanoes.
It turns out you can climb one. I didn’t mean to but… it was there. Its name is Grábrók and it’s only 170m. Nice and easy, follow the steps to the top, walk around the top of the crater, take lots of photos of the view, steal a little piece of lava rock – some kind of basalt, looked like pumice but not light enough.
That was a detour of much less than an hour and it was just after 4 when I arrived at the hotel in Akureyri. The Edda chain of hotels are school/university accommodation most of the year and open as budget hotels in summer. It very much looks like a student room and I have shared facilities. As usual, all the sockets are in inconvenient places. But all the rooms have names – mine is called Helgrimur.
I went down to the town centre – really down. I hadn’t really realised that Akureyri is built on on the steeply-sloping side of a mountain and I’m quite high up the town. I made it to the church. They want it to be compared to Reykjavik’s Hallsgrímskirkja but it’s just not on the same scale. Apparently its windows are from Coventry Cathedral, “removed, with remarkable foresight, at the start of World War II” and found in a London antiques shop by an Icelander. There’s not much in Akureyri town centre because Akureyri is quite a small place, even if it is Iceland’s second city.
I finally found a supermarket, five minutes walk from my hotel in the opposite direction to the town centre but first I thought I’d go swimming.
All would have been beautiful except I left my towel in the car. Never mind. That’s actually not such a catastrophe. The pools are lovely. A big warmish main one. A huge but freezing one with lanes. A hot pool. A warm beach of a pool with waterfall. Two hot pots – a pleasantly hot hot pot and a painfully hot hot pot. And a kids pool. Plus the splash pool for the slides. And the container of cold water for the men to prove how manly they are.
I went to the supermarket afterwards. No plastic cheese slices. I had to get real cheese – no idea what it is, the packet just says “ostur” which is Icelandic for cheese. The hamburger bread that I bought to go with it had mould within 24 hours, so that was nice and I shall find somewhere else to get bread tomorrow.
And then I was tired so I was asleep by 8.30. Not so dizzy just lying down but moving while lying down didn’t feel too delightful.

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