Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Ring Road is the tiny fishing village of Seyðisfjörður. This haven for artists is an easy drive from the Egilsstaðir airport and a gold mine of discoveries. One snowy winter morning Grapevine photographer, Hvalreki, and I took a 55 minute flight to the east and spent the day exploring Seyðisfjörður.
The drive to the fjord is windy and steep. We admired the scenic panorama from the snowy mountain pass and stopped to snap photos of a frozen lake. The landscape was quiet except for the sound of sheep shuffling through the snow toward a waterfall, and the slow, deep moans of shifting ice. Far below us, the houses of Seyðisfjörður enshrouded the fjord in a patchwork of colour; the recent snow fall cast a pale blue glow on the afternoon.
Seyðisfjörður is charming piled on top of charming. We drove to the head of the fjord where yellow, blue and red fishing boats anchored in the harbour appeared miniscule in comparison to the massive mountains surrounding the town. As if it couldn’t get anymore quaint, Seyðisfjörður has waterfalls sprinkled all over town and art murals cover the sides of buildings.
The Technological Museum, a tinkerer’s dreamland, is full of discoveries. Old printing presses, machines, and mechanical intricacies are on display for the imagination to behold. The attached blacksmith’s shop had a fire going and the smell of smoke permeated the grounds with the haze of a trade ages old. Knobs! Wheels! Grease! It is inspiring to be surrounded by so much invention and reminded me of a Pablo Neruda poem: “I want everything to have a handle/I want everything to be a cup or a tool.”
I had one of the best cappuccinos in my life at the artsy Skaftfell Bistro where the aroma of hand tossed pizza fills the air. The art of late Icelandic artist, Dieter Roth (of Swiss German origin), covers the walls, and a large crafts table anchors the corner of the room with boxes of paper and drawing pencils. Hvalreki ran the bistro back in the day and said not much in the town had changed – he meant it in a good way.
Walking around town, we ran into some of Hvalreki’s artist friends who talked about the lack of direct sunlight during the winter months (it is hidden behind the mountains) and how locals welcome the snowfall because it actually helps reflect the light. I looked around and everything was aglow in a blue colour, they smiled and exclaimed: “See, it’s so bright outside!”
As clouds of dry snow spin in the air around mountain peaks, as the dark ocean pulls and pushes the tide in and out of the fjord, Christmas lights quietly light up the town with colour. Seyðisfjörður is so adorable I just want to pinch its cheeks and feed it cookies.
Air Iceland operates flights to Egilsstaðir and then there is 30 minute drive to Seyðisfjörður.
Book at www.airiceland.is or phone +354-5703000
If you want to read more about Jesse’s adventure’s in eastern Iceland then check out this article!