Víkurskarð

For the last couple of weeks Doddi has been driving tourist all over Iceland. He started in the South and then continued to the North, and ended up in Mývatn, the place all tourists must visit when in Iceland. Today he was taking the group on a Super Jeep tour to Aldeyjarfoss. But unfortunately one of the guys had to end his trip early, and needed a ride from Goðafoss to Akureyri. So this morning I got up very early to drive to Goðafoss, in snow, ice and fog, to pick up the tourist.

I’ve gone to Mývatn and that area more times then I can count, still this was the first time I had to drive over the mountain during the winter time all by myself, and I must admit that it was a bit scary. Its a big drop on one side, and you do not want to drive off the road there. But even if the roads were very slippery and there was fog on the way up the mountain, I still managed to get up there without any problems, I just wasn’t driving 90 like you’re allowed to 😉

Half frozen Goðdafoss

Half frozen Goðdafoss

Since it was so early in the morning it was very dark, so I didn’t get to see my beloved waterfall, Goðafoss. Luckily it’s only been a few weeks since I was there last, so I still have it fresh in mind. It was very beautiful last time we were there, because of the snow the water get such an amazing colour, I just love it!

Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring doesn't matter, Goðafoss always looks beautiful.

Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring doesn’t matter, Goðafoss always looks beautiful.

Behind the clouds

Today I saw the sun for the first time in what feels like weeks! I had almost forgotten what it looks like.

For the last few weeks the sky here has been constantly covered in a thick layer of clouds. It has turned our beautiful town into something gray and boring, especially since the clouds have given us a lot of rain instead of snow. Hopefully this will all change now.

This morning I came out to a car covered in a thin layer of snow, which is always a nice thing to see, and now the sun is shining on us. This is so much better than the rain! So please give us more snow and more sun, because that’s what we like!

Sunrise over Akureyri, in November 2013

Sunrise over Akureyri, in November 2013

Sliding around

Winter here in Akureyri seem to come and go. We’ve had quite a lot of snow a few times, but then it always melts away again leaving the roads all covered in horribly slipper ice. Most Icelanders (at least the ones from the North) know how to drive in snow and all of these other conditions that I’m just not used to. When ever it snows in the South of Sweden, which hasn’t been that often in the last few years, we first clear the roads and then we use salt on roads and side walks to melt away all the ice leaving the asphalt clear. But here in Akureyri they don’t use salt, so when all that melted snow turns into ice it becomes extremely slippery, and for someone like me who’s not used to it, it becomes very dangerous.

Because of the “bad” road conditions and my inexperience Doddi has been driving me to work for the last month or two. But now he’s going to drive tourists for two and a half weeks, leaving me here all alone. That means that I no longer have anyone to drive me to work, so I have to drive myself. Since “my” car, the little Golf, doesn’t have spiked tires and 4×4 its not really a suitable car to drive at the moment. Instead I’ve got our beloved Cherokee back! I love this car, and I’ve been waiting for so long to take him out of “storage”. Now I finally have him and its so much fun to get to drive him again.

"My" beloved car

“My” beloved car in his right element, lots of snow!

But I must admit that this is not the easiest car to drive, especially not when you’re used to a tiny car like the Golf. First of all its a lot bigger, both when it comes to size but also when it comes to engine 😉 It also handles differently from most cars I’ve driven. So it will probably take a few more days for me to really get used to driving this car. But it sure is fun!

New Year, New beginning

I wish you all a Happy New Year! Hope you had a great New Years Eve!

Fireworks over Akureyri

An amazing firework show over Akureyri

We had a very nice and quiet New Years Eve this year, with our families. Just before midnight we went out and drove to the other side of the fjord to see all the amazing fireworks in Akureyri. It was really a spectacular show! Icelanders go all in when it comes to fireworks so this really is the place to be on New Years Eve.

We have had a very eventful year, and in many ways a great and fun year. But I’m sure this will be an even better year! I’m hoping for lots of new and fun adventures, both in and outside of Iceland, but we will see how it goes.

I love New Years, it’s a time for looking back and at the same time looking forward. It’s a time to remember and reflect, and it’s a time for new beginnings! I can’t wait to see what this year has in to bring, I’m ready 😉

“Viltu skötu?”

Today at work we all went out together for lunch to eat “Skata”. I had never even heard of this dish before, so when they said this was something I needed to try since it’s an Icelandic tradition to eat this on the day before Christmas, I decided to tag along. That was a HUGE mistake. Just the smell of this fish made me want to turn in the door and run to safety. I guess the reason it smells so bad is because it’s rotten fish, so when you think about it I kind of makes sense. What I don’t understand is how some people can really like it.

Doddi had of course warned me that it would be bad, but I had no idea it would be this bad. Many people had warned me about “Hákarl” (shark) but I did try that and it was far from as bad as I thought. “Hákarl” isn’t something I enjoy, but I could still eat it. “Skata” was a lot worse! But even if the smell wasn’t inviting I did try it, and it doesn’t taste as bad as it smell, but it’s still quite horrible and I will never ever eat it again.

Skata. (Picture is borrowed)

Skata. (Picture is borrowed)

Instead of eating “Skata” I had some “Saltfiskur”, which is just salted fish. But sitting in the smell from the “Skata” and eat was not pleasant, and I had a hard time finishing my food. I felt like my “Saltfiskur” started to take taste form the “Skata” smell.

The worst part is that now my clothes and hair and everything smells, so I can’t get away from it. All I want to do right now is to go home and take a long hot shower and wash everything that I’m wearing, but I still have to finish my working day.

Next year when I get invited to this I will without a doubt say NO! I’ve learned from my mistake 😉

Yule lads

You know that Christmas is right around the corner when the Icelandic Yule lads start showing up at Dimmuborgir. This weekend three of them were out greeting the tourists visiting Dimmuborgir, which is said to be their home. I’m still getting used to the Icelandic Christmas traditions and the Yule lads are one of those things that is completely new to me. In a few days all Icelandic kids will put their shoes in the windows before bed and waking up to find gifts in the shoes that a Yule lad has left for them during the night. Each night there is a different Yule lad coming to visit the houses and if the kids have been naughty the might find coal or a potato in the shoe instead of a gift.

The Yule Lad Giljagaur (Gully Gawk)

The Yule Lad Giljagaur (Gully Gawk) is the second one to “come to town” and will arrive on the 13th and he will hide in gullies to try to sneak into the cowshed to steal milk.

The Yule lad Gluggagægir (Window-Peep) comes on the 21th to peep through windows in search of something to steal.

The Yule lad Gluggagægir (Window-Peep) comes on the 21th to peep through windows in search of something to steal. This lad try to steal our car 😉 Good thing the keys weren’t in the car or he might have succeeded 🙂

On the 12th the first Yule lad makes his way to town and the first one to arrive is Stekkjarstaur (Sheep-Cote Clod). Unlike our Santa Clause the Icelandic Yule lads aren’t nice, but still they leave you gift so I’m not sure how that goes together to be honest 😉 But I still think it’s very nice that Iceland has kept this very old tradition, even if the gift part is fairly new I think. I guess the whole thing with the Yule lads were just to get children to behave during Christmas, if they didn’t the Yule lads would come down and scare them and steal things, and if the children had been very bad the Yule lads mother Grýla would eat them. It’s kind of a funny tale and it’s a tradition I will make my own.

The Yule lad Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer) is the last one to "come to town" and will come for a visit on the 24th to try to steal our candles.

The Yule lad Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer) is the last one to “come to town” and will come for a visit on the 24th to try to steal our candles. Here he’s warming by a nice fire.

Up and down

When we lived in Reykjavík last year we didn’t have much of a winter, it just didn’t want to get very cold so that resulted in very little snow. Up in the north on the other hand winter came as early as September with snow and cold weather.

So when we moved to Akureyri I was expecting a “real” winter with cold weather and loads and loads of snow! It has snowed quite a lot here, but for some reason the temperature keeps going up and down. This week we’ve had days when it’s been very cold and then days like today when it’s 6-7°C outside. I can’t seem to get used to this, having it cold one day and warm the other, it’s just so weird and at times uncomfortable. At home we keep turning up and down our radiators, as the weather shifts.

So this isn’t really what I was expecting when I moved here. I wanted winter to come in October-November something, with snow and cold-ish. But the snow keeps falling only to melt away again a few days later. Some days the ground is just covered in ice, like this morning when I almost needed skates to get to and from the car.

But winter here isn’t all bad, we do have days which are just perfect!

View from Vaðlaheiði

View from Vaðlaheiði, isn’t it beautiful?

Sunset at Vaðlaheiði

Sunset at Vaðlaheiði