Svava shares her recent family visit to Iceland
It’s dark - I mean pitch black - outside and we are all emerging one by one from our rooms for breakfast. It really does feel like we are eating our toast and cereal at 3am. It's 28th December 2015 and I’m in Iceland with 17 of my family for a New Year’s adventure organised by my amazing Mum.
We have already taken a domestic flight to Akureyri in the north - a scary tossed-about-in-the-air-hang-on-to-your-seats experience. Today we head to the other side of the huge fjord to Kaldbukur Mountain just over 1,000 m high, next to the small town of Grenivik. Here we meet amiable Bjossi and his caterpillar snow tractor: we are climbing this mountain!!
Sitting on benches we take an open-air ride up, up, endlessly up to the summit. Spectacular views, the sweep of the fjord, mysterious half light blue and black contrasting blinding whiteness, clouds, huge skies, mountain ranges, snow, biting winds, power and throb of the tractors engine, squealing kids, happy amazed faces, a treat for all the senses. And then a dozen bright orange sledges are revealed and we take the longest most exhilarating descent down, bumping, spinning, gliding and laughing all the way.
Negotiating the solid icy quay, we climb aboard the ferryboat to be whisked across the fjord to the tiny island of Hrísey. At 2.30pm the light is already fading, the sky is deep inky blue-black as we head to the oldest house on the island, the House of Shark Jörundur museum, which tells the history of the island and shark fishing.
Recently renovated, the museum is a welcome refuge after all the outdoor activities. Down the centre of the main room runs a long series of tables and chairs, the tables set. The haunted museum does not usually serve food, but as Mum knows the owners she has arranged a special favour; lunch of fresh fish and potatoes, apple pie and cream surrounded by the portraits, stuffed sea birds, fishermen’s clothing, harpoons and other artefacts of the museum!
Back on the mainland, bundled back into the coach we’re tired after a memorable day, but there is another very welcome surprise in store as we make a stop at the town’s outdoor pool to soak our aching bones in the soothing, geothermal waters of the hot tubs as snow flakes twirl down from the night sky!