44 ice creams please
MV FRAM is at the quayside at Akureyri this morning. This town is the fourth largest in Iceland and often called the “Capital of the North”. The oldest part of town is situated on a narrow strip of land at the end of the long bay of Eyjafjordur. The younger parts of town are on the mountain slopes and the former community known as Glera. The town boasts a thriving cultural life, artists shops and galleries, museums, a college. There is a popular ski resort just west of town.
After breakfast the Furlongs family enjoy another private walking tour. Our guide is Sigrun, she was born and brought up on the island of Grimsey, the northernmost inhabited part of Iceland. We are visiting Grimsey this afternoon. Our Akureyri walk takes us through the new part of town first. Sigrun explains that the original design of the new town square was all stone and concrete and therefore rather grey. Apparently the locals wanted colour so secretly covered the centre of the square with grass and added some colourful flower pots. And it has remained like that ever since! We pass the new cultural centre and also an original old theatre which accommodated British soldiers during WW2. The old part of town had some attractive old wooden houses, originally Danish merchant houses. On the way back we pass the locally famous ice cream shop. It is a beautiful day with the sun shining brightly and Dawn and Richard decide we cannot miss the opportunity to purchase 44 ice creams. The two young ladies behind the shop counter do a grand job and cones and tubs are distributed in no time at all. Just as we finish our big order a school teacher and his class turn up to do the same thing. The ice cream shop does well today!
Back on board we sail north to Grimsey Island. During the sailing there are lectures from the expedition team and Andy Wenzel presents “Tales of Whales I have known”. As a bonus there is live action at the same time … hump back whales are sighted portside. Good planning, Andy!
Around 6pm we reach Grimsey and tender ashore using our sturdy PolarCirkel inflatable boats. The island is only 5 square kms in size. It has a small landing strip, a harbour with a few fishing boats, a few houses and a church. There are less than 100 human inhabitants but literally hundreds of thousands of birds including puffins, guillemots, snow buntings, plovers and arctic terns. We enjoy a walk which takes us across the Arctic Circle and along a cliff edge to enjoy the bird life! The weather is beautiful and the views simply stunning. In the distance we can see snow covered mountains on the mainland of Iceland. On leaving Grimsey we are treated to yet more sightings of hump back whales. What an incredible day!