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Tuesday, 9:20
Hotel Aldan, Seydisfjördur

Monday morning we got up early, had a soulless breakfast with the tour groups in the Hotel Höfn’s breakfast room/bar/conference facility, and set off. First stop was the Guesthuse Arnanes, 6km out of town, where we had stopped briefly the evening before. We got there 15 minutes before our appointed time and stood around awkwardly for a bit but eventually the owner noticed us, remembered why we were there, and sent us down the hill to where the horse hand, his son, was sorting out three horses from a muddy paddock. From the 15 or so horses he picked three and saddled them up efficiently.

Icelandic horses are terribly attractive. They are shorter and smaller than the standard breeds, with long, shaggy manes and tails. Anne was given a light brown mare, and I had a black gelding. After strapping us into helmets and a very brief demonstration of steering and directing the horses we were up.

Following the guide we rode out to the main road and along the culvert beside it. The horses splashed through short sections of mud and longer sections of tall grasses with equinamity. After a few minutes we turned off the road onto a rocky track and sped up to a brisk trot, which was pretty fun. The horses’ gait was smooth and comfortable.

We slowed, and crossed a broad but shallow stream, climbing the bank on the other side. Then we rode up to an abandoned shed where we dismounted to give the horses a breather, check the saddles, and give the guide a chance for a quick cigarette. Finally, we rode back to the road and back to the Guesthuse, about an hour of riding in total. We were both delighted by the experience and are looking forward to other opportunities to ride in the future.

Back on the road, we started weaving our way north from Höfn into the east fjördlands. The road wound around the coastline, with sharp-peaked flinty gravel and rock hills stabbing upwards on our left. The fields and plains of the south more or less vanished, and traffic grew even less frequent.

We stopped for lunch in a little fishing village, where the café fed us the “catch of the day”, probably literally given the number of fishermen in the cafe also eating it. It was a very tasty fish (catfish?) breaded, with cole slaw and potatoes, and skyr with fruit for dessert. Yum!

We carried on, eventually going through a long tunnel and coming out at Egilsstadir, the central town for the region. We climbed the pass to the east of town and drove down into Seydisfjördur, the delightful village where we stayed the night. The sun came out forthe first time of the day and the lovely harbour sparkled.

After dinner yesterday evening we went for a kayak trip down the fjörd with a local guide and an American couple. The fog had rolled in, but visibility at sea level was still excellent. We were very concerned about the cold initially, but after a couple of minutes paddling on the dead calm waters we were toasty and we had a wonderful and peaceful couple of hours.

And then a very, very good sleep at the Hotel Alden. We can definitely recommend it as the best place we have stayed so far this trip.

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