Our trip took us to Akreyri twice, the first time after Sauodokrokur and again about a week later when Maurice flew out mid-morning. That morning was quite warm so I also checked out of the hotel and after I watche Maurice’s plane lift off in the sunshine I decided to visit a couple of the small local museums, incuding the Aviation Museum right at the airport, and then the Akureyri museum up the same road a bit. I then continued to explore up the road going south. I got to a point where Maurice and I had had a picnic on our first visit to Akureyri and kept going and much to my pleasant surprise came upon a sweet campground, run by the Boy Scouts, which I thought rather auspicious, given that I had just seen an exhibit about the scouting movement in Iceland at the Akureyri Museum.
It was at the campground reception I learned that a number of people were coming to the region to attend the ‘Fish Festival’ (“it might be a bit crowded tonight” said the attendant, and it was). The festival was taking place the next day in Dalvik, about 30 km up the fjord north of Akureyri. Not one to pass up a local festival that is how I spent my first solo day in Iceland after Maurice left.
The next morning, as the late morning traffic along the two lane paved road along the fjord leading to Dalvik became bumper to bumper and slowed to a crawl 4 km short of the “village” I realized this was a big event and that parking was going to be a real issue. When I got within walking distance I just put the Defender in 4WD and pulled off the road into the ditch. No one seemed to mind, there were cars parked everywhere. As I walked the kilometre or so into town I could see that many people had decorated their properties for the occasion with a fish theme, and many had rented space to RVs, tightly squeezed into peoples yards.
There were thousands of people from all over Iceland with a few international tourists mixed in. As they reached the large open space of what appeared to be a fish plant, people joined any one of a 1/2 dozen lines to get free helpings of arctic char and cod hot off the barbie. The lines got shorter as the day wore on and the fish kept coming – I ate more arctic char in that single day, all for free, than I have in my whole life.