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Ramblin' Recollections: A Song of Iceland and Firewater - Part 5, Whales and Puffins and Horses, Oh My!

One of our readers recently took a trip to Iceland, and wanted to recount his voyages with our community.

One of the crew snapped this picture that I think would make a fine album cover should we ever decide to start a band
One of the crew snapped this picture that I think would make a fine album cover should we ever decide to start a band
packerman's crew

We bought tickets to go whale watching, and we headed off for the three hour tour. Our guide was a very attractive Spanish girl who made the tour very entertaining. We donned a special suit designed to keep us warm, and the boat headed out to sea. One of the cool things about this tour is now I can say I've been inside the Arctic Circle. We headed just far enough north that we snuck inside it! We got the feeling that our boat is the one that all the other tour boats hate. Every whale we saw, our captain turned and sped straight for it. It was extremely fun for us, and we saw a bunch of whales, but the other boats didn't seem as eager to speed towards the whales as ours was. We convinced the captain to swing by Puffin Island (not usually on the tour), and chatted up our attractive tour guide for a little bit on the ride back. Here I am in my whale watching attire with Puffin Island in the background:


And here’s a picture of a Puffin I took as proof!


That’s all you get.

Anyway, after another delicious meal, this time skewers of a variety of fish, we headed off towards Asbyrgi Canyon. Then canyon is famous in Viking lore. It’s said that it got its horseshoe shape when the horse of one of the gods stomped it’s foot down on Iceland. I’m not sure how it actually came to be, but after a very pleasant hike, I’d like to believe the Viking story. The canyon gets up to about 100 meters high, and it’s a fun hike up. We decided to take a break at the top of the canyon, relax a little bit and build a cairn.

We made our way down using a rope attached to the rock face, and hiked across a golf course that sits at the foot of the canyon. We hopped back in the cars and headed toward our next destination:  Akureyri, the capital of the North.

We stopped briefly at another, smaller waterfall on our way to the town, but we didn’t stay long because we were getting hungry. Once we got to the "big" city of Akureyri, we decided we wanted to get some sushi for dinner. We found a sushi spot and sat down, but to our dismay, the restaurant was out of nearly everything. We did notice a curious item on the menu though:  horse sticks. We ordered horse sticks for everybody, and to our delight, horse is cheap and delicious! We ate our small horse stick, paid and left in search of a restaurant that wasn’t out of all of their food. We walked through downtown and hit the jackpot. The restaurant we chose had an incredible soup and salad bar, but, most importantly, they served whale. Being that this was my only opportunity to try whale, I snatched it, and ordered the dish. It wasn’t nearly as good as I had hoped.  Whale tastes kind of like chicken liver but without the grainy texture. I was disappointed, but I had to try it. I regret nothing.

After dinner we headed to a very small town about 45 minutes north of Akureyri, and checked into a cabin for the night. This was the last night in Iceland for two of our travelers, so we wanted to make the most of it. The cabin had a hot tub, which we took full advantage of, and got some relaxing buddy time in before turning in for the night.