Arctic Coast

Akureyri and Husavik are on the north coast near the middle.

The once daily bus through the Kjolur Highlands dropped me off in Akureyri after a five hour ride (including an hour stop at a geothermal area). 

Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland, though at just 18,000 inhabitants it’s really not a bustling metropolis. 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle in an inlet, it’s in a decently picturesque setting. My main calling here was to take a break from hiking and figure out what I was going to do next. 

A night stroll through Akureyri’s botanical gardens, the world’s most northerly.

I’ve been staying in campgrounds in towns, and they can be somewhat hit or miss. They usually cost around $12 a night, but that’s where the similarities end. A lot don’t have kitchens, and since meals in restaurants are so outrageous I end up cooking on my little MSR Pocket Rocket camp stove (which survived the PCT and is still kicking in Iceland!). Groceries tend to be decently priced as long as you buy imported, non-Icelandic goods (I don’t understand why fish is so expensive) which is not what I anticipated. 

There wasn’t a whole lot that appealed to me in the town other than the chance to get Indian takeaway from a downtown shack, which was delicious. It wasn’t that spicy, but after spending 9 months in Spain I’ll do anything to get spicy food for a change. I didn’t do a whole lot other than wash my clothes, hang out with a German woman biking around Iceland, and roam the world’s most northern botanical gardens, but it was a relaxing day. 

The view from Husavik.

With the help of Google Translate, I was able to figure out the bus schedule further north along the coast of the Arctic Ocean. An hourlong bus ride got me to Husavik, a pretty little whaling town 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle. 

The main thing tourists come to Husavik for is whale watching, but I instead wandered around and enjoyed all the brightly painted houses. The town is one of the bigger ones in the region, but still smaller than the population of my high school. 

I took advantage of the geothermal hot pools, which every town in Iceland seems to have. A great way to pass the afternoon before my next trek. 

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