Bus Stops and a Festival

Akureyri Travel Blog

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We're going where again?

The half empty bus left for Akureyri a little after 8.30am. I had chosen to change the company I had intended to travel with as the original route initially followed part of the Golden Circle (it’s worth the wait) route, but this route followed the northern coastline along Route 1. I would therefore see a little more of the island.

The problem with taking a bus trip of course is that there isn’t any great flexibility and the bus stops at predetermined places to either drop off, pick up or a rest stop. This meant we drove past countless photo opportunities which if I’d have been travelling by car I would have been able to take. As it was we seemed to stop at pretty random little cafes and villages along the route, including Hvanneyri, Hvammstangi and Varmahlio, none of which probably lay claim to being Icelands second city. The weather however seemed at last to be on the turn, and there were signs of blue skies at long last.

We arrived in Akureyri early in the afternoon, and I made my way up to the Hostel I was staying at, it is the Youth Hostel at Storholt and was dismayed to see that the bus had driven past there n the way in, I could have saved myself a twenty minute walk. The hostel itself however was described in the guidebook as breaking the mould as far as hostels are concerned, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! A lovely little house on the outskirts of the town, which was very clean, and the management team extremely friendly and helpful. The facilities were excellent, even though the ablutions were shared; there was even a television in my dormitory! A free wireless connection was available, although I never actually managed to get it to connect and plenty of little communal areas to just sit and chill out. I would highly recommend a stay here to anybody visiting Iceland.

I dropped off my pack and headed into explore the town. To my utter glee there was a bit of a festival on, the streets were full of people ambling aimlessly around and music and other street entertainers at various locations within the town centre. Akureyri is sometimes considered the capital of the North, or the second city, but it is actually the fourth largest city, and therefore quite small when compared to a normal city. It is however a lovely little place, quaint shops and restaurants and a fjord at the bottom of the town, which at the present time has a couple of whales in residence, although they were out whenever I called around! Near the building I assumed was the town hall they had a photographic display of around ten pictures depicting local inhabitants, each one had a short paragraph describing a little of the persons history and character, I found it interesting and really giving a feeling for the community.

I stopped at a fantastic coffee shop, really pretty painted a startling shade of blue; it served some great coffee and a dazzling and very tempting choice of very high calorie cakes, as well as a bistro style menu and some suitable alcoholic beverages to accompany it. I ordered a Swiss mocha and a slice of Bailey’s Irish cream cake and sat and watched the world go by for awhile, with a view down the precinct of a street entertainer keeping an ever growing crowd amused for an hour or so. I wandered around for awhile longer absorbing the atmosphere and then headed back to the hostel for a quick shower.


I wandered back into town that evening with a couple of English lads, whose names escape me now. I didn’t hang around with them once we were in the town. They appeared to be in Iceland with the sole aim of trying traditional Icelandic cuisine, whale steaks, puffin, guillemot and whatever else they could discover. I found this a little annoying, I realise this is irrational and hypocritical but I did not want to dine out with these two, so we went our separate ways.

I had read in the guidebook that there was a Chinese restaurant called Pengs, which it described as maybe the best in Iceland. I spent quite awhile looking for this particular eatery, eventually asking a Scottish artist called Christine who had recently opened her own gallery. Her paintings were pretty good, many were of the Northern Lights in a variety of guises, they were out of my budget, but I far preferred them to any I had seen on display at the National Gallery in Reykjavik! She explained that the restaurant was at the bottom of town, near the fjord. I headed down there and discovered it was actually called Nings, and was a noodle bar as opposed to the restaurant described in the guidebook. It was however pretty good and very reasonable, at least for Iceland. It was closing shortly after I arrived and had the slightly disconcerting experience of them clearing up around me as I ate, it was only 9.30pm though!

I had my fill, and then continued to casually wander around enjoying the music at the couple of stages that had been erected, they seemed to showcasing local talent and it was great just soaking up the mood of the crowd. Most of the coffee shops, including the main bookshop remained open till late and the festival was called the Akureyri Vakka, though I wasn’t any wiser as to the reason behind it. I went to the bookshop and bought a magazine to read whilst I tried an iced coffee and then back to the hostel for a quiet few pages of my book before getting some sleep before yet another early start in the morning, it was early for me ok!

Real_PeaceWarrior says:
Well not here to preach, but I'm against the whole whaling thing. I've actually boycotted the country since the recommenced commercial whaling although I've wanted to go for sometime, but a friend persuaded me more good can be achieved by demonstrating that whale watching is more profitable than whaling will ever be! Ultimately everybody has to be guided by their own conscience.
Posted on: Sep 13, 2008
ejames01 says:
Whale steaks I might try...but Puffin...not!!
Posted on: Sep 13, 2008
Real_PeaceWarrior says:
No sorry the 'noodle bar' wasn't that inspiring but the food was great ........... I had chilli lamb, and comes highly recommended
Posted on: Sep 06, 2008
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Were going where again?
We're going where again?
The lovely coffee shop.
The lovely coffee shop.
I wonder if theres time for a wal…
I wonder if there's time for a wa…
Not a bad place to wait for a bus!
Not a bad place to wait for a bus!
On reflection better to wait till …
On reflection better to wait till…
When is the next bus due?
When is the next bus due?
Worse comes to the worst take the …
Worse comes to the worst take the…
Its art ........... but dont ask…
It's art ........... but don't as…
Theres whales out there somewhere.
There's whales out there somewhere.
This is busy for here!
This is busy for here!
They cleared off as soon as I took…
They cleared off as soon as I too…
I could get to like this town!
I could get to like this town!
Isnt it supposed to be windy here?
Isn't it supposed to be windy here?
Im seeking political asylum.
I'm seeking political asylum.
Akureyri Hostels review
This Can't be a Hostel
This hostel was really a very pleasant surprise, not at all like the typical image of a youth hostel. A pretty little building on the outskirts of the… read entire review
photo by: sandraljoska