This will be a bit of a short one, as we only spent a single afternoon in Akureyri, the “capital of the north” (check out this map for some geography help). Akureyri is an eclectic mix of things including a quaint, pedestrian-friendly downtown; a huge mall surrounded by a big parking lot and wide streets; and some outskirts that seem to consist in large part of weirdly pre-fab looking cookie-cutter housing. As we only had an afternoon (we arrived in the early afternoon and left early the next morning for Jökulsárgljúfur National Park), we spent most of our time in the pedestrian-friendly downtownish area, aside from a trip to the mall to buy some stove fuel for our upcoming backpacking trips.
Akureyri, like Reykjavik, has an imposing church overlooking the center of town, although this one has nothing on Hallgrímskirkja. Those steps lead straight down to the downtown area and the pedestrian-friendly Hafnarstræti, with a huge number of restaurants and cafes, of which our favorite by far was a tiny Indian Curry Hut staffed by a single very dark-skinned Indian man and a very blond, tall, and slightly clumsy Icelandic woman. The entire restaurant, kitchen aside, included a counter for taking orders, two barstools in front of a shelf that served as a table, and room to stand for perhaps two people. And it was tasty!
The one sightseeing activity we indulged in was a trip to the Akureyri Botanical Gardens, which happened to be right behind our hotel. This was a pretty awesome botanical garden, featuring all kinds of flora neither of us had ever seen before. I came armed with a macro lens and got a few shots I like:
Aside from going to the botanical gardens, eating, and running a few errands for the backpacking trips, we pretty much relaxed in the same way we did in Reykjavik, by sitting in cafes and watching people. Most of the activities in the Akureyri area seemed to require a full day, and as we only had part of an afternoon, there wasn’t a whole lot we could do other than wander around. So that’s what we did.
Finally, after nightfall – which of course wasn’t until 11pm or so – we retired back to our hotel, which was really more of an expensive hostel, and prepared for the next morning, when we would hop on a bus to Jökulsárgljúfur. Backpacking photos coming next!