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The Eastfjords

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We had a wonderful time in Seyðisfjörður and the next day continued our clockwise loop around Iceland. The meandering road south took us around the magnificent natural vistas of the Eastfjords and into a few tranquil coastal villages.

Egg Sculptures Djúpivógur

Not many people spend a lot of time in the Eastfjords, a region which boasts none of Iceland’s most famous sights. No geysers, geothermal parks or volcanoes. But the fjords, carved out thousands of years ago by glaciers retreating into the interior, are lovely. The land here is older, more stable and greener, and the quiet roads which wind around along the ocean offer up some extraordinary scenery.

After leaving Seyðisfjörður, our first stop was in the minuscule hamlet of Stöðvarfjörður. We hadn’t planned on pausing here, but were attracted by the bizarre murals decorating the fishing plant near the harbor. This factory had employed a large percentage of the town’s inhabitants and its closing in 2005 devastated the local economy. But a group of artists endeavored to turn the old factory into a Creative Center, hoping to lure tourists to the remote town.

Further south, we took a break in Djúpivógur, where we saw an art installation of giant eggs set on pedestals near the harbor. After the collapse of fishing, many towns in the Eastfjords seem to be placing their chips on art. An uncertain bet, to say the least, but it worked on us. After being attracted into the town by the stone eggs, we went straight to the nearest restaurant for lunch.

This gorgeous corner of the country doesn’t get nearly enough attention, and we feel awful for spending so little time here. 91 days in Iceland, and only two of them in the Eastfjords! We probably could have planned that better. There’s some great hiking which we didn’t get to experience at all and we completely missed the towns of Borgarfjörður Eystri, Eskifjörður and Mjóifjörður, along with many others. But one day, we’ll be back. And we’ll know better.

Locations on our Map: Stöðvarfjörður | Djúpivógur

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October 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm Comments (2)

Seyðisfjörður

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One of the larger towns in the Eastfjords, Seyðisfjörður is best known as the port for ferries arriving once a week from Denmark. We didn’t know much else about it when we decided to spend the night here, but were pleasantly surprised. Seyðisfjörður was one of the more charming villages we visited during our entire journey around the country.

Unfortunately, we didn’t see Seyðisfjörður at its best, because of the inclement weather that plagued so much of our trip around Iceland. Heavy fog, intermittent rain and low-hanging clouds obscured most of the landscape from view, including the mountains which surround the town. But what we did see, we liked. Much of Seyðisfjörður was built in the 19th century by fishermen from Norway and many of the wooden, Norwegian-style houses have survived into the present day.

After taking a short stroll around the harbor, we followed a rough track up into the hills to discover a strange art installation. Here, in a spot that looks out over Seyðisfjörður, German artist Lukas Kühne constructed an echo chamber called Tvísöngur. With domes of various sizes, the piece most resembles a miniature Turkish hamam, and inside you can produce weird echo effects. I imagine this being especially fun for kids.

We stayed the night at the Hótel Aldan, which occupies three historical buildings in the heart of the town. Our room was in the “Old Bank”, built by herring entrepreneurs in 1898 as a hotel before being converted into Seyðisfjörður’s bank. Today it’s a hotel again, and one of the nicest we stayed in during our three months in Iceland.

Seyðisfjörður is tiny, and I can’t imagine spending any more than a couple days here, but we really loved it. When the weather allows, there is apparently great hiking to be had in the hills surrounding the town. It isn’t on the Ring Road, but should you drive by, Seyðisfjörður definitely warrants a detour.

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Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
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October 28, 2013 at 10:23 pm Comments (3)
The Eastfjords We had a wonderful time in Seyðisfjörður and the next day continued our clockwise loop around Iceland. The meandering road south took us around the magnificent natural vistas of the Eastfjords and into a few tranquil coastal villages.
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