Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Iceland: Siglufjörður

We spent two most interesting days in Siglufjörður, a small fishing town on a short and narrow fjord opening out to the Arctic Ocean.

Siglo and other nearby towns rose in population and prosperity during the herring boom of a half century ago. Then the fishery vanished and is only now regaining some stability. The Herring Museum, three carefully built and furnished buildings on the port, is perhaps the best museum of its kind I have ever seen, making the Herring Adventure real!

Late in the afternoon as we returned to town from our hike to a cirque a storm was brewing. The wind blew hard all night and in the morning there was snow on the ground where we had hiked the day before.

Two photos show avalanche fences high above the town.

Siglo once was impossible to reach in the winter. Finally a one lane tunnel built in from the northern point of the peninsula eased the journey in all weather. More recently Iceland built two long tunnels coming up from the city of Akureyri to the southeast, through two mountains and passing by an uninhabited fjord. We arrived through the one way tunnel and left by the newer ones.

At Siglo there is a cirque high above the town. We reached it by an hour's hike and found paradise. The natural world of northern Iceland is all here...water, fantastic bog-like areas of Arctic cotton and inches-deep moss, massive rock on three sides. I could and, I hope, will again spend time here. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever looked upon and experienced.

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