Posted by: neilh10 | April 4, 2011

Guest Review 2 – Flateyri in August

This is my second guest review, from my friend Hannah – who visited Flateyri in August last year, and I asked her to write an account of her recollection of the trip.

Three of us went to visit Flateyri in August 2010. The weather was mild and the days long. It was very easy to get from Reykjavik to Flateyri. The flight to Isafjordur is beautiful (if a little hair raising). The tiny plane flies between two mountains
before circling to land on a runway that looks like it’s part of the water. A taxi took us from the airport to Flateyri through a long tunnel in the mountain.

VAGNINN PUB, Flateyri, Iceland
(The Vagninn pub, translated in to english as the Waggon inn. from flickr

We spent a lot of time in the local Waggon Inn where they serve delicious food (if not particularly well-suited to vegetarians). Iceland is not cheap but it is not as insanely expensive as we had imagined. One of the most memorable aspects of the trip were all the people we met who introduced us to the local drinks and songs that accompany them as well as filling us in on the local gossip. On first glance Flateyri might seem like a sleepy backwater but it turned out to be surprisingly cosmopolitan – one abandoned concrete building that originally served as a storage tank for cod liver oil is now a music studio (we met a musician who had travelled from Germany to record there) and a lot of the houses in the village are now owned by artists from Reykjavik who can be found propping up the bar at the Waggon inn.

Flateyri itself is a tiny place on a spit of land surrounded by breath-taking scenery. It doesn’t take long to take in the sights of the village – a shop, petrol station, swimming pool (which we went to every day – it’s not geothermal but it does have a hot tub), fish factory, doll museum (!)… It’s a pleasant place to amble around.

We were unable to climb over the mountains to the neighbouring town due to low lying clouds but enjoyed visiting Isafjordor (where there are pleasant cafes, restaurants, a supermarket etc), walking along the Fjord, reading in the apartment (from which you can see the water), drinking beer in the evenings etc. The most adventurous thing we did
was to take a kayak trip up into the Fjord which we was well worth it. Siggi is the local man who takes people on trips and he is able to tailor it to suit your needs. The day before he had taken out thirty seventy-year old Germans but was equally happy to take just the three of us on a longer trip. The water was extremely calm so it was not difficult (none of us had kayaked before). They say there are whales in the fjord sometimes but we did not spot any.

We had planned to get the bus back to Reykjavik but actually ended up getting a lift with one of the people we met who was returning to the city for the winter. The drive is as stunning as the flight – the road first goes along the coast through a series of gorgeous fjords before going inland across wild, empty and seemingly uninhabited expanses of eerie landscapes stretching in every direction.

I would definitely recommend a visit to Iceland. Flateyri is unlike anywhere else I have been in the world – incredibly isolated with stunning scenery yet simultaneously very easy to get to and to get around once there. This is also not an area overrun by tourists…yet.

Staying in an apartment is much more relaxing than in a hotel as we were able to prepare our own meals and relax at home. Go now!

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