We had a driving free day in Akureyri and we booked a horse riding trip for the afternoon. We didn’t get up early and we didn’t rush out of the farm either. Which was lucky because the place we are staying in has 3 rooms and another room decided that washing dishes was optional and could be done last minute, after all other guests wouldn’t want to use plates, knives or a clean kitchen. To make matter worse, they also thought it was perfectly acceptable to leave a plate of cut up raw onion in the fridge.
That said the guesthouses we have stayed in, we have found the other guests don’t seem to come out when we are in the lounge or dining areas of the guesthouses. In fact the other travellers in general have been rather quiet and our longest conversation was with our gorilla pod friend who wanted to photograph himself in front of everything in Iceland.
We drove into Akureyri and it was raining quite a bit. We went and had a rather ordinary lunch, where the pizza was made far too quickly to actually be any good. This was good for Claire as the wifi enabled her to chase up on the selling of her house and a friend that also was coming to Iceland. I also went to the Akureyri Backpackers to use their laundry.
We were hoping to walk up the hill to the church and to then go to the botanical gardens before horseriding, but instead migrated to the Blaa Kannan coffee house for coffee and cake and to write up my previous blog post. We eventually drove out to the horse place to be told it was cancelled due to the weather so we went to the tourist info for plan B. Plan B was to go to a place on the way to Bogarnes the following morning, so we booked in for a horse ride then and went out for a delicious dinner at a restaurant in Akureyri called Bautinn (It was recommended by Marcelo and Hoski in the fjords). It even had a soup and salad bar, which you don’t see often in Australia. Oh nearly forgot Claire found herself a brand new handmade sweater.
This morning we got up to go Horse riding. A quick breakfast and we stopped at the gate to photograph the farm, because there was sun on it! We drove on further and the GPS was lying to us, so we kept driving until we got to the town of Varmahlíð and then eventually found Hestasport where our riding sessions was.
We checked in and headed to the stables where it was a bit cold. We found our first Australians of the trip in Iceland. Normally Australians are like flies, we are everywhere, but so far in Iceland we’d yet to meet any. I was fitted out with a riding helmet and then got onto my horse called Flakevi (I think thats how it is spelt). A lovely caramel brown coloured horse. The Icelandic horses have a longer mane, are stockier and have a longer coat of hair on their bodies also.
I felt pretty comfortable riding a horse, it was my second time this year. After a few minutes we lost the Australian couple. The girl was a bit scared to ride and thus pulled the plug. That meant I was clearly the best Australian Icelandic horse rider (from my sample of 3 Australians). Icelandic horses have a special gait that they do. I have no idea what or how but we rode the gait and it was faster and bumpier. The scenery was quite lovely, but the wind chill was quite strong. I was glad to warm up in the car.
The rest of the day was driving to Bogarnes, which is only 70km north of Reykjavik, so we are almost back to the beginning. We went to the Settlement museum in Bogarnes where we did two audio tours. The first was how Iceland was settled and the second was based on Egil’s Saga. The sagas were written not long after the events occurred and apparently some are visible in a museum in Reykjavik. I nearly bought Egil’s saga as a book, but realised i could probably get it at home cheaper.
We retired to the Cafe under our B&B for a beer before returning to the Settlement centre for dinner. Claire had her much sought after fish soup while I had a delicious lasagne. I also have an apple cake for dessert which was also delicious. Tomorrow we head to Reykjavik via the Snæfellsnes peninsula, which is where Jules Verne got his idea for Journey to the Centre of the Earth from. Looks like a long day driving, but then back in Reykjavik for beer and dinner.