Sunday, 26 June 2011


It has been a fabulous week, I have had my very first visitors from Australia come to stay.
A dear friend Gill and her husband Bern were visiting family in Wales and made a little side trip to catch up with me at the Old Post Office.


It was really wonderful to have an old friend around to reminisce with and then be able to show off Iceland and the Skagafjörður region to them.  I worked with Gill for 6 years in Art Education at a Perth University and we shared an office for around 4 of those years.

 One of Gill's Knitted ceramic teapots

Gill is a talented ceramic artist, extremely intelligent, sharp witted, irreverent and one of the funniest people I have ever met.  Gill made me laugh everyone of my working days over the six years and not just a little giggle or chuckle here and there but side splitting, rolling on the floor, belly aching laughter. I laughed more in those six years than I had ever done previously and I hold very fond memories of all her funny stories and antics.  I remember one year when she was trying to teach a group of art education students about visual messages and perception...she came dressed as the Queen Mother and proceeded to teach ceramics in full character mode in a pale blue crimplene suit, complete with hat, gloves and handbag.  She stayed in character for the whole day.

Gill as the Queen Mother
 Removing gloves to give a wheel demonstration.
 Not sure the Queen Mother would sit with her legs astride and have hitched her skirt up that far!

Although they were only able to stay for 3 nights we fitted in quite a bit of sight seeing as well as time to sit and chat.  They came bearing gifts and I was totally spoilt! I now own one of Gill's knitted teapots (which I have coveted for sometime) and she also gave me a little set of her wall pieces, plus a Kindle...which I had never really looked into, but have since loaded on a few books and have started reading Eat, Pray, Love,  it is so much lighter than a book to hold and the best part is I can magnify the print!  A few things are hard to get here, vegemite of course impossible, rosehip capsules for my arthritis and anchovies.

Summer seems to be a bit hit and miss this year, some days are lovely but others are decidedly wintry.  The first night they arrived it was cold and very windy, fortunately they came prepared with the appropriate summer clothing for Iceland.  Most of the pictures in this post are through the eyes of Gill...for some reason I was too busy talking and did not take many pics, so Gill kindly left me a copy of hers.

Bern dressed for the Icelandic summer!
The next day was quite beautiful with no wind so we drove out to the little seaside village of Hofsós for coffee and cake but first did a little tour through the Immigration museum which told the story of the Icelanders who immigrated to the Americas from 1870-1914...during this time 20% of the Icelandic population left to start a new life elsewhere.

 A view of the town which has a population of 180-200
I would be happy to do laundry everyday with this view.

Plus we went in search of Elves as these Balsaltic rock formations are said to be the capital of the Skagafjörður's elf population.

I also introduced them to Geocaching and we did a little over the two days,

The heated swimming pool at Hofsós where a cache was supposedly nearby

Bernie scrambling over rocks looking for the cache...however we did not find this one.

From Hofsós we drove to Hólar which for over 700 years served as the capital of North Iceland and the cathedral here is Iceland's oldest stone church.  There is now a University which specialises in all things Equine and houses the Centre for History of the Icelandic Horse. Rural Tourism, Aquaculture and Fish Biology are also taught here.  There are also articles on display of Archaological digs, a Turf house, a small forest and of course the Beer club.

 We took a walk through the turf house and Olga's amma, Kristin told us that she lived in one similar to these until she was 8 years old.

There were also a couple of caches in Hólar forest so we went in search of those.

 Me frantically searching for one that once again eluded us.
Gill finding the other one...her very first cache find!

After Hólar our next stop was Glaumbær on the way we passed a group of horses being driven along the roadside.  Gill is a little nervous of horses and over her stay she had a few close encounters with them to varying degrees.
 Gill's close encounter #1 with horses

We had worked up quite an appetite so as soon as we arrived at Glaumbaer we headed straight to Áskaffi for lunch and had homemade vegetable soup, smoked lamb, pancakes and coffee...absolutely delicious. 

 Once our tummy's had been filled we found a cache at Glaumbaer and then visited the Turf house farm museum. 
The front of the Farmhouse

a view of the back of one of the rooms...note the herring bone pattern of the turf

Side view with turf wall (this pic is definitely postcard material)

Interior view from the end of the passage

 The sleeping quarters

The Kitchen
The Glaumbaer farm has 15 rooms and is so much larger on the inside than expected.

 Collections of objects on display
After Glaumbær it was back to Sauðárkrókur for dinner at Ólafshús.
Gill having close encounter # 2 with a foal.

The next day we stayed pretty close to home, we visited the Tannery in Sauðárkróker which processes fish, lamb, horse, cow and reindeer skins to name a few into the softest leather and fur skins.

Fish Leather

Fur skins
 Gill bought Icelandic cod and Wolf fish skins as her souvenirs of Iceland.

We took a little drive by tour around the town, up to the graveyard and the local golf club where Gill had another very close encounter of the horsey kind.  A farmer was herding his horses from one paddock to another.
Gill's close encounter #3
Gill filmed this outside the car, so you will see just how close she was.

We then headed back to my place for a spot of lunch and had an array of Icelandic fare we had bought at the supermarket such as smoked salmon, herbed whale blubber, dried fish, flat bread, smoked lamb and Icelandic cheese.

 After lunch we visited Grettislaug which is not far from town, has fabulous views

 and two hot pots to soak in. 
 The day was beautiful, no wind here and we just relaxed totally in the hot water....Bern in particular seemed to enjoy this immensly.  

There was a cache nearby so after a lovely long soak we trekked off to find it...and we did!

From Grettislaug you can also take a trip to Drangey and see the Puffins...unfortunately Gill and Bernie ran out of time to do this...maybe next visit.


Later that night in Sauðárkrókur there was a bonfire near the jetty to herald in Lummadagar.

 Gill and I took a walk for a closer look and we got there for the tail end of it.

  There was a small sailing demonstration for children by the local sailing club which only started up a couple of years ago.

 As you can see everyone was dressed in their summer gear!

It was a pity Bern and Gill could not stay a couple more days as the Lummudagur festival was in full swing on Saturday...more about that in next weeks post.

They left early the following morning for Reykjavik where they had one more night before they flew back to the UK.  Hopefully they were able to fit in another couple of sites and got to see a Geysir, the Gullfoss waterfall and the Blue Lagoon.  

It was soooo good seeing them both and I hope they will venture this way again sometime soon.


  1. Am a bit worried if that is what everyone is wearing in summer....what is the winter outfit???

  2. Gill and Bern are lovely people, glad I got to meet them properly...

    You definitely did a great job hosting, looks like you guys covered almost everything Skagafjordur has to offer!
    Bring on the next lot of guests!

  3. You certainly did do a good hosting job! and it's always good to leave something for the next visit. Maybe Gill's next encounter with a horse should be a short riding trip???