Day 11 of the cruise was a sea day. Not too much exciting stuff happened on the boat…mostly just relaxing and eating and exercising.
Our cruise had 2 stops in Norway. I didn’t realize how narrow the country actually is. It’s kind of interesting though that it has such an extensive coastline heading toward the north pole. Since we were cruising, the two stop were both port cities. Our first stop of Ålesund is on the mid-western coast of the nation. This city is known for its German art nouveau architecture. I didn’t realize there were different types of art nouveau. Many of the sights again required driving of some sort but we decided to just hoof it on foot and explore the small town.
Upon arrival it was overcast and started to rain when we disembarked. Luckily the rain was intermittent throughout the day so much of it was just gloomy and gray (I actually like this kind of weather).
I ran out of steam with my previous posting and took a long break from any new posts. Hopefully I can get back on track and finish our trip, which now was over 3 months ago. Here’s hoping!
I’m starting to sound like a broken record but we again decided to rent a car for our last port in Akureyri. Akureyri is at the base of Eyjafjörður Fjord in northern Iceland. Luckily I was able to make a car reservation from my phone before we left Ísafjörður. The water was fairly active on the way to Akureyri but turned foggy upon arrival in port.
They do like their hatchbacks in Iceland (and Europe). Here’s our little Kia that we used to traipse around the countryside.
We arrived in Ísafjörður (I just loved saying it “issa-fyord-or”) in the morning. Initially we didn’t have any specific plans – no excursion, no independent tour. Since it had been easy to drive around Reykjavik, I thought maybe we’d be able to rent a car and tour the area (the actual town is very small and most of the cruise excursions involved traveling to other parts of the northwest fjords of Iceland). We first stopped at the visitor center to see if we could maybe book a last-minute tour (bus) but they were all full. The person at the counter suggested trying the nearby hotel as they sometimes have car rentals. I had never really heard of this but thought it couldn’t hurt.
As you saw from my previous post, we went to bed super late. Because we weren’t sure the length of time it would take to drive the Golden Circle, the plan was to get up early and hit the road. So running on less than ideal sleep, we started off for the first stop on the Golden Circle: Þingvellir National Park. Since we don’t have that specific strange character, in English you can find it as Thingvellir. I guess the original parliament of Iceland was located here before re-locating to Reykjavik. Within the park where the visitor center is located marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. You’re literally standing between two giant Earth plates. Pretty neat.
The sea day (Day 6) was on the open waters. We definitely felt some rolling of the boat and I heard that some people had some sea sickness on the way from Scotland to Iceland. I may have had just a very small touch of queasiness but it didn’t stop me from eating! The overall trip from Scotland to Iceland actually took about 1.5 days. We reached Reykjavik in the early afternoon and the weather was very overcast (much different than it had been in Scotland).