Fishing boat in Seyðisfjörður harbor.

Driving the Ring Road Around Iceland

Ð/ð is voiced,
as in this;
Þ/þ is unvoiced,
as in thick.

Christmas in Seyðisfjörður

Guesthouses at Booking.com

I had arrived on the evening of December 23rd and got checked into the Seyðisfjörður Guesthouse. Another envelope was waiting with the key to my room. On my second day there, I met my innkeeper. She used to be a member of the Alþing, the Icelandic Parliament.

Once I donned my crampons the next morning, I was ready to walk around town. Here's the guesthouse:

Seyðisfjörður Guesthouse.

Looking to the north, out the fjord:

View from Seyðisfjörður Guesthouse.

Iceland was spoiling me for casually walking in the middle of the road. There's very little traffic. When someone approaches, you hear their studded tires coming from a distance. But for the most part, no one ever approaches.

Turning 180° and looking to the south, toward the pass to Egilsstaðir:

View from Seyðisfjörður Guesthouse.

And looking straight out from the guesthouse, to the west:

View from Seyðisfjörður Guesthouse.

This gas station once had a convenience store, but now it's nothing but the fuel pumps. Many gas stations have nothing at all but the pumps and an overhead light.

Gas station in Seyðisfjörður.

Walking Around Seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjörður was settled early. A burned-down stave church has been carbon-14 dated to the 11th century. The town you see today was settled in 1848 by Norwegian fishermen. They brought lumber and built wooden homes and business buildings. Some of those still stand today.

The first telegraph cable connecting Iceland to Europe was installed here in 1906, making Seyðisfjörður an international telecommunications hub into the middle of the 20th century.

In 1913 they dammed the river and installed Iceland's first high-voltage AC power plant. It distributed electrical power to homes and street lights, the first such system in Iceland.

The local fish-processing plant had closed a few years back, although the town continues to be a significant fishing port with a ship construction and repair facility. Seyðisfjörður is now focused on tourism. These brightly colored buildings have apartments rented to visitors.

Yellow and blue apartments in Seyðisfjörður.

The passenger ferry terminal is for the Smyril Line ships that run weekly from here to the Faroe islands and on to Copenhagen. But not in late December through the first few days of January.

Ferry terminal in Seyðisfjörður.
Ferry terminal in Seyðisfjörður.
Ferry terminal in Seyðisfjörður.

Colorful, tidy homes.

Colorful homes in Seyðisfjörður.

This Quonset hut dates from when Seyðisfjörður was a British and US base during World War II.

Why do them call them "Quonset huts"? Because they were invented in Quonset, Rhode Island, in the northeastern U.S. That's what the native people called the place.

Quonset hut in Seyðisfjörður.
Colorful homes in Seyðisfjörður.
Colorful homes in Seyðisfjörður.
Colorful guesthouse in Seyðisfjörður.

This is the local government headquarters.

Colorful local government building in Seyðisfjörður.
Colorful homes and guesthouses in Seyðisfjörður.
Church in Seyðisfjörður.

Seyðisfjörður has come to be known as an artistic community.

Colorful businesses in Seyðisfjörður.
Colorful businesses in Seyðisfjörður.
Colorful businesses in Seyðisfjörður.
Colorful businesses in Seyðisfjörður.

However, this was Christmas Eve. The cafés, brew pub, sushi place, and everything else was shut down.

Colorful businesses in Seyðisfjörður.

The grocery store was open 0900-1300, and the government liquor store was open 1000-1200. That was it for Christmas Eve. Christmas fell on Saturday, so it would be Monday the 27th before things started to re-open.

Grocery store in Seyðisfjörður.

I had anticipated this. In a small town in Iceland, in the winter, during a pandemic, at a major holiday, everything will be shut down. I had to select places to be for Christmas and New Year's, and bring food with me. The guesthouse has a full kitchen, so I was fine.

Meanwhile, my walking tour continued.

Colorful buildings in Seyðisfjörður.

The community cultural center includes the library, a hall for dinners and dances, and the only movie theater in eastern Iceland.

Colorful buildings in Seyðisfjörður.

The school is across the street.

Colorful buildings in Seyðisfjörður.

Of course there's a swimming pool. I was a little surprised that it was closed.

Colorful buildings in Seyðisfjörður.
Colorful buildings in Seyðisfjörður.

I continued to admire the Icelandic homes. They are uniformly clean and attractive. Iceland has nothing like the near-Appalachian squalor I'm used to seeing back home.

Colorful buildings in Seyðisfjörður.
Art in Seyðisfjörður.

Art is everywhere in Seyðisfjörður.

Art in Seyðisfjörður.
Art in Seyðisfjörður.

Many places are a combined bistro – café – bar – gallery – performance space – whatever.

Skaftfell in Seyðisfjörður.

Onward to Akureyri

Next: On to Akureyri

My next overnight stop would be well to the west, in Akureyri. This would be the most challenging drive — the longest, and through what I anticipated correctly to be the worst conditions. The good news was that conditions were better than they usually were at this time of year in interior northeastern Iceland.