September 1, 2017
Leaving Borgarnes in the morning we traveled towards the northeast countryside across highlands, dales, and fjords and saw varying landscapes ranging from cattle farms to lava fields, to the volcanic region surrounding Lake Mývatn. We make a few stops along the way, first to Grábrók Crater. Grábrók is a crater formed by a fissure eruption approximately three thousand years ago. The fissure that initially opened during that eruption wasn’t very long but left behind Grábrók and her two crater sisters that can be seen when on top. Then, Gauksmyri Horse Farm to see Icelandic horses, a unique variety that has only been bred with other Icelandic horses since first brought here by the Vikings in 800CE. Finally, to the still operating Vidimyri Church completely constructed of sod, only the gables are of wood. Due to the shortage of wood in Iceland the builders fell back on using driftwood for construction. The roof of the building is covered with sod. The Víðimýrarkirkja is a fine example of the traditional Icelandic building style, especially for the 19th century and one of the best conserved turf churches of the island. Mid-afternoon we reach Akureyri, capital of Iceland’s north region. The afternoon was a tour of this urban gem, by coach and by foot, visiting the botanical garden and Akureyrarkirkja church, with its unusual interior.