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jpalbny

Silver Cloud #1918, Circumnavigation of Iceland - Live!

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August 7, 2019–Djupivogur, Iceland

 

We are traveling around Iceland in a counter clockwise direction, so we sailed east through the night to the east coast of Iceland.  This is a new area for us.  We slept well until 4 am when there was a terrible loud mechanical noise outside the window.  They were putting down the anchor.  Then they put down the zodiacs and the landing platform right outside and below our window.  I should have studied the deck plan better.  

 

Fortunately the commotion resolved, and we dozed off.  Unfortunately, they called the first group to leave, going on a 7 hour bus tour, at 5:30 am.  So we were again awakened.  We dozed back off again until about 7:15, when they called the next group.  It was time to get up anyway, as our tour was to depart from the dock at 8:30.  I have to comment again at how efficient this ship crew is at getting everyone out on tours ontime, even with factoring in the zodiac rides.  Regent could take a lesson.

 

The sea was pretty rough, and the wind was blowing quite strongly, about 30 mph, by the time we boarded the zodiac.  We definitely got sprayed with water on the way to shore, but the waterproof parka and my waterproof pants did their job.  We landed at a small dock in town.  A minibus took us, the hiking group, a short ways to a black sand beach to the start of the hike.

 

Temperature was about 50F, but the very strong wind made it feel much colder.  I was happy for all my layers.  The sun was bright which our guide counted as good luck because it is often very foggy here.  We hiked out onto a beach of the finest black sand that you can imagine.  There were eider ducks, lots of tiny wildflowers in the sheltered areas, gulls, seashells.  And lots of sand and wind.  We hiked in a big loop and arrived back in town 3 1/2 hours later very tired from fighting the wind.

 

George and I found a restaurant and ordered soup (excellent Thai coconut milk based veggie soup), fish and chips (good fresh cod and chips, but terrible batter on the fish), and a chicken pita (really chicken salad on a bun so I just ate the salad part).  We explored the village some, then came back to the ship.  

 

The zodiac ride back was just us and the driver, and the sea was really rough.  We were drenched, with water dripping off our noses, but fortunately we are experienced zodiac passengers so were able to safely get off and back on the ship.  It makes me a little scared to think of some of the passengers getting back on the ship in those conditions, because it took all our experience, balance, and help of the seamen to do it safely.  You had to time it just right and then move quickly up the landing platform without hesitation.

 

Trivia was again a win, with 22 out of 25 points.

 

Dinner was in main dining room with Victoria and Bob.  The food was excellent.  A crab tempura was on offer which I did not order, but everyone else said was delicious.  I had a couple of roasted mussels, asparagus ravioli, and the fresh local Arctic char.  It was outstanding.

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Having a great time, Terry! I am looking forward to catching up on your thread but that will probably not happen until we are home. 

 

Gogo65, one of our bottles didn't close right and leaked a lot, but I figured it out. You must make sure the red cover piece snaps into place. I'll try to take a picture that shows what I mean. 

 

Rich, great pictures! Your excursion looked like a great time. Thanks for posting! 

 

We're have a long hike tomorrow, leaving at 8:00. Weather looks nasty. 43F and rain. Windy too. Should be fun! I think Rachel and George are in our group. Hope we can keep up.

 

Dinner tonight at Hot Rocks. With the heaters going, it wasn't too cold.

 

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Menu looked good. 

 

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We both had rib eye streaks. Very tender. About a minute per side is enough. Then an additional sear on the edges before you eat it, if the piece looks too raw. 

 

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Dessert was cheesecake

 

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And an apple cinnamon rose with cinnamon ice cream. It was delicious. A strip of apple, rolled with cinnamon, and baked in a pastry shell.

 

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After dinner we had a short wait for the room to be turned down, so we looked at the east fjords in the evening light. Seydisfjorđur is somewhere near here. 

 

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Good night for now. Must rest up for this hike! 

 

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Hope you all sleep well & have a rewarding hike tomorrow.  Really appreciate the pictures of the menu with pictures of the food to match!

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To a fella who lives in a cold climate, but at least gets a good 3-months (usually) of warm weather, 43° in August sounds brutal, especially when I think of the poor souls who live there.  

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Thursday, August 8th. Langanes Peninsula. 

 

This was a new area for us, a fairly deserted small peninsula in the northeast part of Iceland. 

 

We were scheduled to dock in þórshöfn (Thor's Harbor) this morning but the winds and swells prevented that. The weather was too nasty for zodiacs, so we have a sea day today. 

 

Bummer to miss the hike, as we could have used the exercise. But we will cope. This is the second time we've missed a port called Thor's Harbor though, so I think Thor must be angry with us.

 

Hanging out in Panorama, as we sail just north of the Arctic Circle, towards tomorrow's stop in Husavik. Currently at 66°37'N, 16°05'W.

 

It's grey and ugly out, so we will have another coffee and keep warm inside. The view off the stern makes reinforces that decision! 

 

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Too foggy to see the North Pole off to starboard, so no pictures of that. Will see what plans they have when the new Chronicle arrives in a bit.

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Want to thank everyone for sharing their wonderful cruise with us at home. Love it and is much appreciated.  Keep having a great time.Elaine

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A sea day so far, but we are approaching Húsavik now and land is within sight.

 

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Chris and I have spent a short time here in 2014, by car from Akureyri. Now we have extra time here this afternoon. 

 

Dominic just announced a briefing about today's and tomorrow's schedules. Better go check that out. From what I can tell, tomorrow's weather doesn't look any better than today's,  so our scheduled whale watch may not be much fun.

 

We had two lectures this morning - volcanology with Steffan, and Icelandic history with Victoria. 

 

Lunch at LT again. We found a rosé of Syrah which went well with our food. Among other selections, the fish and chips were very tasty.

 

After lunch we walked the corridors and the stairways to get a few steps. It's been such a lazy day, so we had to move. It was too ugly to step outside for more than a minute. The temperature was 45 degrees with 30-35 knot winds, and rain.

 

But we had a chance to take a few pictures of the ship, while the venues were empty. The Bar on deck 5 - now called La Dolce Vita.

 

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And the main lounge - now called Explorer Lounge.

 

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The color scheme seems much lighter than I remember from our last sail in 2014.

 

So for today, they've arranged continous shuttle buses into town and a free visit to the Húsavik museum. Not bad for a last-minute scramble. 

 

No changes in tomorrow's tours, but the weather looks the same. Might be a fun boat ride. Good thing we have dramamine et al.

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We are scheduled on the Kangerlussuaq to Kangerlussuaq journey departing August 26, and we are so enjoying your pictures and descriptions! It's making us even more excited for our 16-night journey on the Silver Cloud. I hope your weather improves soon but it sounds as though you're having a marvelous time regardless.

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An unexpected afternoon in Húsavík

 

We docked about 2:30, during the briefing, so we decided to walk into town and do the museum visit. The weather still looked ugly from our window.

 

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But we geared up with our rain pants, waterproof shoes, and our parkas, and set out for a 15-minute walk into town. The wind and rain pelted us relentlessly along the way, but our gear kept us warm and dry.

 

I did have to cinch our hoods down so that they didn't get blown off. And we wore our sunglasses, to keep the rain out of our eyes. An umbrella would have been useless, so glad we didn't try.

 

The museum was small but nice, and our group didn't overwhelm it too much. The main section was an ethnographic museum. In addition to stories of local life, arts, crafts, and handiwork, there was a decent collection of local wildlife.

 

These were the first puffins all trip who stood still for a picture. 

 

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And this bear. Safe for a selfie, if you want.

 

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We spent an hour, as there are three exhibits. Beside the ethnographic collection, there's a maritime museum and a photo collection. 

 

Then we decided to walk back. Along the way, the Cloud looked pretty despite the rain.

 

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We made our final approach. Chris looks happy to be home!

 

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What a beautiful ship! 😍

 

Back on board, a hot shower felt good. Nothing now until 6:15, when there's a presentation on Silver Moon. Then dinner in the MDR tonight, and hopefully an early night before the boat tour tomorrow. 

 

Húsavík is a cute town, with a small but interesting waterfront. Hope we can see more of it tomorrow. 

Edited by jpalbny

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Ugh, Dramamine.  Makes me feel so bad.  On our Galapagos cruise our butler gave me some sort of homeopathic patches that actually worked very well.  I wish I knew what brand they were.  Does anyone have any experience with those homeopathic patches distributed by SS?

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Dinner tonight in MDR at a table for two. The menu seems more extensive than in the past. Lots of choices. 

 

Here is one page out of four, the portion which seemingly changes every night. 

 

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I started with the panzanella salad. It was ok, but I think it is truly impossible to mass prepare. You have to soak stale bread in the juicy tomatoes until it's soft, but not overdo it. So their solution was to not soak it at all, and the bread was hard. Nothing that a little extra olive oil wouldn't cure.

 

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Chris tried another app from the SALT menu, the sformatino. It was delicious! The cheese flavor permeated the dish and it was robust enough to hold up to a red wine.

 

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We shared a serving of mushroom risotto next. That called for a red wine, and the offered Spanish garnacha-syrah fit the bill perfectly. 

 

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Mains were gambas al ajillo, with a delicious spicy rice for Chris,

 

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And I had the spicy fish curry that I'd been eyeing for the past few days. Wow, tasty! Complex spices and I asked for extra heat, so they spiced it up to about 5/10. 

 

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Both went well with the included white, a Portuguese Alvarinho. Really nice!

 

Desserts were equally great. I went with the strawberry shortcake with zabaglione. So good.

 

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Chris had coffee mousse.

 

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Now in the bar with an after-dinner drink, because it's too early for bed. Hope he plays some good dance music tonight! 

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August 8, 2019–Langanes peninsula, Iceland—or not—on to Husavik , Iceland

 

During the night, I could feel the seas picking up and hear some rattling in our room.  Then the fog horns started going off almost constantly.  Not a good omen.

 

Our hike was to leave at 8:00 am, so I got up at 6:30, didn’t look outside and started getting showered and dressed.  Dominic, the expedition leader, came on the speakers stating that due to the sea conditions, we could not dock at the harbor or launch zodiacs.  So it would be a sea day.  Very disappointing, but then I looked outside.  It was completely foggy, raining, and the sea was rolling like the agitator in a washing machine.  So it would have been a miserable hike.

 

I went up to Panorama Lounge for tea while George went back to sleep.  Then to yoga.  The crew quickly arranged some extra lectures.  I was in the gym on the elliptical when the captain came on overhead with the announcement that we would proceed directly onto Husavik, our destination for tomorrow, and arrive at port around 2:30 in the afternoon and spend the night in port.

 

We had lunch in La Terraza, and the fish and chips were really good today.  It was announced that there would be a briefing at 2:15.  They arranged a shuttle bus in Husavik to run between the ship and the museum downtown, about 1.5 km away.  Or you were allowed to walk from the ship.

 

It was raining hard with a lot of wind, so we opted for the shuttle which took us to Husavik Museum which had a nice collection of fishing and hunting relics as well as a stuffed polar bear, lots of stuffed seals, birds and small mammals, and things about the history of farming in Iceland.  It is small, but well done.  You could walk to the Whale Museum, but we had been to that one previously.  It is very good, but not worth getting drenched since we had seen it before.

 

Back to the ship, trivia was again a win.  It was a blowing cold rain outside.  I am really glad we will be at the dock tonight instead of out at sea.

 

There was a preview of the new ship, the Moon, prior to dinner.  We did not attend as if we are doing a traditional cruise, we mainly stick with Regent.

 

Dinner with Rich and Barbara was great.  They messed up her main, undercooked steak and cold potatoes, but it was fixed.

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You are making me crazy with those photos from dinner. It is only 6:30 am and I am very envious!

 

We join Cloud later this month. Cannot wait to enjoy that delicious Italian food. The Rocks concept looks appealing, too.

 

Thank you for the photos.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

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Friday, August 9th. Húsavík as planned. Or not.

 

We were out too late dancing. We asked Alfredo for some dance music and he obliged. It was fun but by 11:00 it was definitely bedtime.

 

We woke by 6:00 but there was very little daylight. The weather looked no better than yesterday. We were not confident that our whale watching tour would go off as planned, and this was confirmed at 7:00. We were told that we could join the Lake Mývatn tour instead. 

 

We had mixed feelings about this. We have already seen all of these stops but we didn't want to sit on the boat all day. So we went on tour.

 

The weather was indeed terrible. It was in the low 40s with wind, and various intensity of rain all day. A boat trip would have been a miserable experience, so we were glad to not do that.

 

Our first stop was at the geothermal site Hverir.

 

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Lots of sulfur-scented steam to walk through and smell.

 

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Lots of mud too. Our tour guides had provided plastic shoe covers. A nice touch. This boiling mud would definitely leave a mark.

 

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Up close and personal, with the sulfur smoker. I went downwind for my picture. The other guy didn't. 

 

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From here we went to Dimmuborgir. This is a cool region where there are bizarre lava formations. 

 

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The 13 Christmas Lads live here, according to legend. They must have been hiding from the rain, as we didn't see them.

 

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We hiked with our guide for about 25 minutes then went a little more on our own. But the weather was really nasty now, so we grabbed one last overview shot and headed back to the bus.

 

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Then we stopped for lunch at a hotel near the lake. They served tomato soup, then trout, and apple cake for dessert. The food was simple but tasty, and beverages were included. 

 

From here, a 40-minute drive to our last stop, the spectacular waterfall of Gođafoss. We were happy to visit again.

 

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But the weather was still cold and damp, so we snapped a few pictures from different viewpoints, then back to the bus.

 

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Cool volcanic rocks along the river too.

 

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We arrived back in Húsavík at 3PM. We may walk back to see the whale museum later. Or we may be lazy. We shall see!

 

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JP, your pictures bring back memories as we did this tour when we were here previously.  Today we did a different tour.  I will post about it later.

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Looking forward to pix of the canyon hike!

 

We went to Ásbyrgi Canyon on our own, last visit. It's really pretty, and I hope the weather didn't affect that too much. Though if I remember correctly, it was raining when we were there too.

 

Disappointing that the tour couldn't go on and make a stop at Dettifoss. But I guess the road there isn't suitable for a bus.

 

Our tour was a repeat for us too, but it was still nice to see old familiar sights. 

 

The whale museum was free for us, so we are glad that we walked back for that. They have a complete blue whale skeleton. Amazing.

 

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Dinner in the MDR again. Wines were an Australian Chardonnay, and a Barbera d'Asti.

 

The daily menu choice was French. I was all over that. Chris was more selective. 

 

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Chris had a mesclun salad to start, and I had the frog legs.

 

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Tasty legs, but could have been swimming in even more butter and garlic. Good, despite that.

 

French onion soup. 

 

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Chris had Wiener Schnitzel for a main. I tasted it too. Very good. Really crispy crust.

 

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My coq au vin was very good too. The chicken was very tender. Nice flavorful sauce.

 

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Tarte tatin. The flavour was good. The presentation was not quite as I expected. The apples are usually sliced thinly, not put into the tart shell in thick chunks.

 

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A nice meal. And early to bed.

 

Tomorrow, Akureyri. That means we have to leave the nice stable dock in Húsavík, and brave the wind and swells tonight. Might make for a rough night. Hopefully, once we tuck into Eyjafjörďur, it will be calmer. Sleep well!

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August 9, 2019–Husavik, Iceland 

 

Even with the ship safely tied up at the dock, we could hear the wind whistling and feel a little movement through the night.  Our excursion, a hiking tour, wasn’t to leave until afternoon, so we had a nice sleep in.  

 

The boat tour to see puffins and whales was cancelled due to high winds and terrible sea conditions, not that they would have been able to see much of anything with the fog.  The people who had signed up for that tour were given the option to go on another tour to see geysers and waterfalls, the tour we had done on our previous visit here which was quite good. 

 

When I went up to the panorama lounge for my tea, they had closed off the top deck where the walking track is and the deck out behind the panorama lounge.  I guess they didn’t want anyone blowing off.  

 

Our tour was to leave at 12:30.  The problem was that none of the lunch venues were to open until noon.  Apparently a lack of coordination between those setting the tour times and those setting the dining times.  George thought surely La Terraza would open at 11:30 despite what was listed in Chronicles.  It was still closed, so he went to the front desk and raised a fuss.  They were able to hurry things along and open early.  Then it was announced that the tour wouldn’t leave till 1.

 

We drove through the rain along the coast for a ways then turned inland.  After an hour, we arrived at Ásbyrgi which is a horse shoe shaped basalt gorge that rises 100 meters from the valley floor.  It was formed when a volcano erupted long ago causing a glacier to melt.  The ensuing flood of water washed down forming the gorge.

 

We were supposed to hike along the top, but because of the weather, that was just too dangerous.  It was still raining steadily.  So we hiked along the valley floor though a forest of birch, willow, larch, and spruce.  Our guide explained that this is considered very exotic in Iceland as there aren’t really any forests.  All the trees were planted initially but are now reproducing on their own.  It reminded me of southern Alaska.

 

Eventually we ended up at a pond.  From the top of the gorge, there was a wispy waterfall pouring down.  We were lucky for the rain because it is only there when it rains quite a bit.

 

Back to the ship, we had dinner with Leslie and Brad in main dining room. I had the smoked salmon, curried cauliflower, and a delicious sole.  Very nice but good company made it even better.

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The red red dot at the top is George of course.  He had to climb up the ladder and rope to get a view from the top of the gorge.

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the waterfall, present only when it has been raining

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Saturday, August 10th. Akureyri. 

 

Another cold and rainy day. We slept until about 7:00, then got ready for our tour at 8:00. Breakfast snack at Panorama, as usual.

 

The weather was again ugly, high 40s and rainy, with low-lying fog. We were docked in a location I'm not familiar with, away from the main town, because two other larger ships (Viking Ocean, and Oceania) were at the main pier. Maybe this explains the limited tour selection today.

 

So we disembarked at 7:45 and found our bus. We were heading northward, up the west side of Eyjafjörđur, to a small fishing town called Siglufjörđur. This was a key part of the Icelandic herring industry, back in the day.

 

The road skirted the coast, but before we reached the tip of the land, we cut inland through a narrow tunnel. A few miles later, we exited into the next fjord, Ólafsfjörđur. There was a tiny town, then another long tunnel, before we came out in Héđinsfjörđur. 

 

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Gray, misty, and abandoned. A good photo stop.

 

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Onward, through one more tunnel, to Siglufjörđur. Our stop was the Herring Era museum. And surprisingly, it was still raining. 

 

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Off we went for part one, a demonstration of herring preparation and salting. The catch was poured into a trough in the herring box.

 

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Where the "herring girls" made short work of them. One flick of the knife removed the head and the guts, then the rest was put into the box behind them to be mixed with salt.

 

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In this second picture, you can see one of the girls packing the salted herring into a barrel. She's between the two folks in red jackets. 

 

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Upstairs, the sleeping quarters for the herring girls. Pretty spartan! 

 

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However, the pay was supposedly good. They were paid by the barrel. Those who were fast could earn enough money in the two month season, to support themselves for the whole year.

 

Hopefully they could afford nicer beds! This is no Silversea suite!

 

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The second building was a replica of a herring plant, where the fish was processed into meal and oil. There were some original pieces of equipment, salvaged from other plants around Iceland. Cool to see, but not photogenic. 

 

The third building was a replica of the old harbor, complete with a floor built like a dock, and a few ships. The lights were purposefully dimmed, to mimic the midnight sun. 

 

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In its heyday, the harbor was huge, and perpetually busy during the herring season. 24-hour shifts were not uncommon for the herring girls. If ships were unloading, everyone was working. 

 

We got to sample two kinds of herring on rye bread, along with a shot of Brennavin. The liquor actually went well with the rye and the spices.

 

We took advantage of a brief respite from the rain, to take a few pictures in town. It is tiny.

 

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But the rain returned, so back to the bus. This shot looked artistic. A lonely old truck, and the sea.

 

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Back home the way we came, arriving at 1:00. Time for lunch at LT!

 

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Spins, I shared the picture with Dominic. He got a laugh out of it. He said that he was still a kid back then, and was following all of the rules... 😁

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