Seeing Eastern Iceland, The Often Overlooked Side

 

My trip to Iceland was a visual wonder…from the brightly painted buildings to the mountains to the people and their history. But while so many people do the Ring Road or stay close to Reykjavik, I went east to the less visited side of the island where the people, their ponies and, especially, their scenery, provide an amazing journey for a visitor. Below is a selection of my images, a few of them shot not with my full size interchangeable lens camera but with my cell phone.

 

This is the outside of Nordfjordur museum known as Museum House. The metal exterior is typical for a building in eastern Iceland. Painted corrugated metal stands up to the harsh weather and the bright paint really makes the landscape sparkle. Photo by Cardozo

This is the outside of Nordfjordur museum known as Museum House. The metal exterior is typical for a building in eastern Iceland. Painted corrugated metal stands up to the harsh weather and the bright paint really makes the landscape sparkle. Photo by Cardozo

In Your Bucket Because

  • You want to see a part of Iceland most folks don’t.
  • You love nature and the outdoors and can do without pounding nightlife.
  • It’s a great way to meet the locals and learn their history.

 

Model boat in the Nordfjordur Museum known locally as Museum House. Eastern Iceland. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Model boat in the Nordfjordur Museum known locally as Museum House. Eastern Iceland. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Icelandic horses are a small, sometimes pony-sized horse developed in Iceland from ponies imported by Scandinavian settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries. They are sturdy, hardy and long lived. They are known for a distinctive gait called “tolt,” a four-beat running walk that produces fluid, rhythmic, forward movement and is wonderfully comfortable when riding. Here the horses are on a farm in eastern Iceland. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Closeup of an Icelandic horse on a farm in Eastern Iceland. Icelandic horses are a small, sometimes pony-sized horse developed in Iceland from ponies imported by Scandinavian settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Icelandic horses are a small, sometimes pony-sized horse developed in Iceland from ponies imported by Scandinavian settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries. They are sturdy, hardy and long lived. They are known for a distinctive gait called "tolt," a four-beat running walk that produces fluid, rhythmic, forward movement and is wonderfully comfortable when riding. We rode on a farm in eastern Iceland and yes, I got to "tolt." Photo by Cardozo

Icelandic horses are a small, sometimes pony-sized horse developed in Iceland from ponies imported by Scandinavian settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries. They are sturdy, hardy and long lived. They are known for a distinctive gait called “tolt,” a four-beat running walk that produces fluid, rhythmic, forward movement and is wonderfully comfortable when riding. We rode on a farm in eastern Iceland and yes, I got to “tolt.” Photo by Cardozo

Scenic eastern Iceland with snow speckled mountains in the background and autumn colors beginning to show in the vegetation. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Scenic eastern Iceland with snow speckled mountains in the background and autumn colors beginning to show in the vegetation. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

 

Inside Randulf's Sea House, a restaurant in the eastern Iceland town of Eskifjordur. Built in 1890, it was used to process herring but today is a rustic restaurant where you can sample traditional Icelandic food such as rotten shark as well as more standard fish and meat dishes including reindeer. Yes, most folks don't like 'rotten shark' but, honest, it's quite tasty. We were greeted with an offering of dried fish, rotten shark and schnaps before proceeding to dinner. Photo by Cardozo

Inside Randulf’s Sea House, a restaurant in the eastern Iceland town of Eskifjordur. Built in 1890, it was used to process herring but today is a rustic restaurant where you can sample traditional Icelandic food such as rotten shark as well as more standard fish and meat dishes including reindeer. Yes, most folks don’t like ‘rotten shark’ but, honest, it’s quite tasty. We were greeted with an offering of dried fish, rotten shark and schnaps before proceeding to dinner. Photo by Cardozo

Dawn in the eastern Iceland town of Eskifjordur came with a spectacular view of the dock behind the rustic restaurant, Randulf's Sea House. Photo by Cardozo

Dawn in the eastern Iceland town of Eskifjordur came with a spectacular view of the dock behind the rustic restaurant, Randulf’s Sea House. Photo by Cardozo

Cabins in the small town of Eskifjordur at Mjoeyri Guesthouse in eastern Iceland. The cabins sit at the head of the town's fjord. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Cabins in the small town of Eskifjordur at Mjoeyri Guesthouse in eastern Iceland. The cabins sit at the head of the town’s fjord. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

 

This World War II museum is set up in an old army camp in the eastern Iceland town of Reydarfjordur. During the early days of WWII, the village had fewer than 400 residents along with more than 3,000 British soliders. Photo by Cardozo

This World War II museum is set up in an old army camp in the eastern Iceland town of Reydarfjordur. During the early days of WWII, the village had fewer than 400 residents along with more than 3,000 British soldiers. Photo by Cardozo

Wool knitted crafts made from local sheep in gift shop along the water in the eastern town of Faskrudsfjordur. Photo by Cardozo

Wool knitted crafts made from local sheep in gift shop along the water in the eastern town of Faskrudsfjordur. Photo by Cardozo

 

What else would locals call this but The Blue Church. It's in the eastern Iceland town of Seydisfjordur. The town is known for its preserved old wooden buildings and is connected to the rest of Iceland by a single 17 mile mountain pass road. Photo by Cardozo

What else would locals call this but The Blue Church. It’s in the eastern Iceland town of Seydisfjordur. The town is known for its preserved old wooden buildings and is connected to the rest of Iceland by a single 17 mile mountain pass road. Photo by Cardozo

Picturesque building in the eastern Iceland town of Seydisfjordur. This is a private residence at Bjólfsgata 8. The sign means that this is the home of the honorary consul of Sweden in Seyðisfjörður. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Picturesque building in the eastern Iceland town of Seydisfjordur. This is a private residence at Bjólfsgata 8. The sign means that this is the home of the honorary consul of Sweden in Seyðisfjörður. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Now this is a bed I would love to try out. It's inside an alcove in a hotel in the eastern Iceland town of Seydisfjordur. The kind of bed in a nook is popular in this town's hotels. And this particular one is in Hotel Gamli Bankinn, an old bank turned into a charming hotel.

Now this is a bed I would love to try out. It’s inside an alcove in a hotel in the eastern Iceland town of Seydisfjordur. The kind of bed in a nook is popular in this town’s hotels. And this particular one is in Hotel Gamli Bankinn, an old bank turned into a charming hotel. Photo by Cardozo

Hot cup of cappuccino topped with chocolate flakes in the town of Seydisfjordur in eastern Iceland. Photo by Yvette Cardozo.

Hot cup of cappuccino topped with chocolate flakes in the town of Seydisfjordur in eastern Iceland. Photo by Yvette Cardozo.

Our guide, Stefan. I think he wore that sweater to sleep. We never saw him without it. These days, though, those sweaters go for $200 in most gift shops. Photo by Cardozo

Our guide, Stefan. I think he wore that sweater to sleep. We never saw him without it. These days, though, those sweaters go for $200 in most gift shops. Photo by Cardozo

This was our dinner one night. It was rare and so tender, you could cut it with a fork. And no, it didn't taste gamey. Reindeer were imported to Iceland in the 18th century but plans to farm them never quite worked out so now they run wild, mostly along the east coast and are hunted by lottery. Photo by Cardozo

This was our dinner one night. It was rare and so tender, you could cut it with a fork. And no, it didn’t taste gamey. Reindeer were imported to Iceland in the 18th century but plans to farm them never quite worked out so now they run wild, mostly along the east coast and are hunted by lottery. Photo by Cardozo

We stayed one night in the Mjoeyri Guesthouse cabins in the small town of Eskifjordur. The boat is actually a hot tub with a fantastic view of the town's fjord by day. That night, I saw a glimmer of northern lights while soaking in the nice, hot water. Photo by Cardozo

We stayed one night in the Mjoeyri Guesthouse cabins in the small town of Eskifjordur. The boat is actually a hot tub with a fantastic view of the town’s fjord by day. That night, I saw a glimmer of northern lights while soaking in the nice, hot water. Photo by Cardozo

Practicalities

The height of tourist season is July and August, though people do visit Iceland year round.
Activities in summer focus on the out-of-doors with trips to glaciers, waterfalls and riding stables. Activities in winter turn to festivals, watching northern lights and exploring the snowy landscape.

Contact the Icelandic Tourist Board or Eastern Iceland

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