We arrived in Akureyri at around 3.45 pm, the reason I remember the time is because we wanted to go and visit The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum on the other side from the town. I was just the driver so went where I was told. Over the bridge and then we turned right and drove on for what I was assured would be about a 10 minute drive to the museum. Well the road went up the side of the mountain and after 10 minutes there was no museum. At the first available accommodation I stopped and we went into to ask directions. I now suspect that the girl we asked either does not know her left or right and has never been to the museum. Following her directions we ended up further into the mountains where there were only farmhouses and the road soon changed from tarmac to gravel. The museum was becoming bit of a holy grail for the person who wanted to go. Each new farmhouse roof in the distance became a possible until by 4.45pm it was mutually agreed that it wasn’t going to happen today since the museum closed at 5pm. The map now makes sense but at the time it was just plain confusing to us.
Now as I hinted at before I have a problem with certain parts of ‘The Rough Guide to Iceland’. While not every place is going to blow your socks off the writers are very dismissive of places. Now while I may be slightly biased this is the description of Skagaströnd: ‘a terribly ugly place dominated by a hulking fish factory down by the harbour…’
Granted there may be not a lot to do or see with one shop, one petrol station, one bar, one bank and one cafe but I think my pictures somewhat go to show you can still find beauty and wonder if you take the time to look around you. I have the feeling the writers just drove right on through.
Windy day in the ‘terribly ugly’ Skagaströnd…
Right let’s get back to Akureyri after securing accommodation for the night the four of us ventured out into Akureyri. Perhaps our expectations were too high or our imaginations had run away with us after spending time in Skagaströnd. Frequently billed as the capital of the North, Akureyri had became a metropolis of restaurants, bars and sophistication in our minds. We soon realized that if you get the right photographer and angle you can make a place look full of exciting possibilities. I congratulate the tourist board of Akureyri, you certainly fooled us. As did my current favourite book in the world, The Rough Guide to Iceland’ which calls it a ‘spot of urban sophistication’.
Now I’m not totally dismissing Akureyri since we had got there after business hours and the town had just had a festival the weekend gone.
We did actually enjoy having a choice of restaurants and the beer that came with the food at the time tasted like the best beer ever. I don’t if that was just down to having spent all day in the car or the beer coming out of a glass bottle but that was a good beer. I did ask our waitress what people did in the evenings but her only suggestion was bowling which we put low on the list.
At least there was a bookshop and that’s where we all headed en masse. Three of us stocked up on some materials mainly paper and some paint.
While I’ve been printmaking nearly relentlessly this year I’d made up my mind before leaving that I’d take a break from it. Instead I’ve making use of my time to try my hand at using watercolours but not necessarily in depicting traditional landscapes as one would associate with the word watercolours. The show and tell of that work will be another post.
Shopping done and feeling that it would be a shame to have an early night, three of us wondered what to do next…
We went bowling.
I won both times.
Odd but true, I have now been bowling in England, Iceland, Japan, Mexico and the United States.
In retrospect the beers in a bar opposite the bookshop after bowling were good and the quiet atmosphere there was good. Five days later while still a little disappointed initially with Akureyri, I find myself thinking about it with an odd mixture of affection and disappointment.
And so to bed for Tuesday would be a day of many sights.