Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Iceland: Vestmannaeyjar I

We jettison Joe and Svein into The General's care at the ferry terminal and drive our trusty steed onto the lower deck; next stop Vestmannaeyjar. The ferry ride is short, and it takes us past a few incredible tiny islands that are used as farming outposts. Waste not, want not.

Don't slip

There's a near-constant escort of birds surrounding the ferry; they range from gulls to terns to puffins to guillemots. The puffins are a bit clumsy when it comes to water takeoffs, hilariously splashing along until they finally generate enough lift to go aloft.


As we approach Vestmannaeyjar and the main town of Heimaey, the ferry winds its way between massive sculpted cliffs that are filled with birds in every nook and cranny. These cliff walls are surreal in their form and coloration (much of which is attributable to the birds...).

Guillemots and gulls

Upon landfall, we locate our accommodation and pretty promptly make a move for dinner. We have been advised to go to Slippurinn as a treat, and HOLY WOW is it amazing. We kinda splash out, have some delectable food and drink, and are made to feel exceedingly welcome by the staff (including the chef). We eat fish and lamb and skyr, all seasoned with herbs and flowers from the island, and I know I'd recommend it to anyone as well as go back there at the drop of a hat.

Bustling metropolis

We stumble, engorged, from Slippurinn at something like 10 or 11pm and decide to walk it off for a while and explore Heimaey.


This island has a unique history; it was substantially destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1973, forcing widespread evacuations and altering the landscape forever. Or at least until the next eruption...

Hearty growth

Fun fact: the harbor was saved from the lava flows by the application of nearly 7 billion liters of seawater. Saving the harbor was a big deal, as their primary industry is fishing. No harbor, no industry, game over. Ever resourceful, Iceland built power plants that harnessed energy from the cooling lava to provide heating for the island. Again, waste not, want not.


There's a fair bit of traffic, surprisingly, for a town of ~4000 people. Turns out we're walking around just before a shift change at the fishery, and once that clicks over, it's back to being a ghost town.

Drizzly crossing

Guillemot/puffin art

You are here

Kiwanis Club

We make a pretty good lap of town and finally meander back to our hotel. The majority of the island is well outside "downtown," and we've got most of the next day to explore the outskirts.


After a few days of no darkness, we're starting to settle in to simply being awake until we're actually tired of doing stuff, no matter what time it happens to be, and then peacefully sleeping until we're rested, somehow not minding the brightness leaking in from outside. Perhaps the perpetual drizzle has something to do with it...


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