Akureyri, Iceland

Gonna fire one off the cuff here…

Sitting in a bookstore in the small city of Akureyri, Iceland. It’s on the north coast, at the end of a 30-plus-mile fjord, and it’s an interesting city.

As we motored toward the city yesterday morning, there was universal agreement on board Polar Bear that the town was kinda ugly. And it was, because all we could see at the north end of town was the industrial side of things: dry docks and factories and commercial-fishing boats and the like, all beneath a depressing, gray overcast.

Pardon the interruption: Whoa! A DeHavilland Beaver on floats just took off from the fjord! Takes me back to the AK…! Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

But after we turned the corner to the dock, things took a turn for the better. The town climbs a hill to the west and plateaus out before rising up into mountains a few kilometers distant. An interesting, modern-style church adorns the hillside right next to the main road leading up from the waterfront. A small promenade is quaint and charming and people — a lot of them tourists — meander around the various shops.

Atop the hill, a municipal pool complex was our destination after we cleaned the boat and checked in with customs. And oh…what a treat! A 43-degree (Celsius) hot tub, steam room, water slides…all were available to us for about $3. Yes, $3 — I don’t think we’re in Norway anymore, Toto. A decadent hour or so of lounging in the facilities, followed by a shower and shave, and I was a new man and Akureyri was looking like a new town.

And today, in the sunshine that has just broken out from the clouds, it’s looking even better. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time to explore, which is why I’m
writing this post on the fly: I’m headed to the airport in an hour or so to fly to Reykjavik for the evening and then on to Boston in the morning. So exploration of Iceland will have to wait, and given the schedule changes for Polar Bear’s season, I may just make some time come September.

Now, though, I’m heading back to Polar Bear, and back to the United States.

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