Day 5, here we go! We left Akureyri to head to Dalvik and the Eyjafjörður inlet to go whale watching. We stopped at a gear shack to put on our jumpsuits just in case the worst happened and we were plunged into the freezing cold waters of the Atlantic. Spoiler alert, no one fell in. My mom and I had a laugh at each other once we were dressed head to toe in red, rocking beanies, gloves and waterproof boots.
We boarded the small boat and headed out into the sea to spot some whales. We were told again and again that Iceland was one of the best spots in the world to see humpback whales and man were they right! Within 10 minutes of boarding the boat, the captain had spotted one of the whales. We watched as they blew water from their spouts, showed off with dives and tail flukes. The majestic beats were all over!
These captains sure know their stuff too... They sometimes are so familiar with the whales can identify specific whales based on the patterns on their tails, and have even given them affectionate nicknames!
After we watched these magical creatures for an hour, the thrill started to wear off. We were offered the opportunity to go fishing over the sides of the boat for some Icelandic cod. After catching a few fish the crew on our ship showed us the proper way to fillet one and we each got to try a little bit of our catch. Since "fishy" isn't really my favorite flavor, I wasn't the biggest fan of Atlantic cod, but the experience was worth it.
After we finished watching the whales and eating our catch of the day we headed towards shore to eat at one of the few restaurants in downtown Dalvik. Affectionately named Gisli Eirikur Helgi Kaffihûs Bakkabrædra. This adorable locally owned restaurant reflects an Iceland of the past. Not only is the decor above-and-beyond, but this place is also home to some of the best fish stew in Iceland. Fish stew you say? EW. That sounds super fishy and not that great... And Leslie you just said you didn't like fishy flavors... You are correct, dear reader, I don't. This stew was anything but fishy! It was AMAZING! Tender white fish cooked with a curry-esque soup, veggies, and dippable fresh bread. I would eat this every cold day of the year. I even went back for thirds!
Following our lunch, we made our way westward along the ring road heading to our final destination for the night Laugarbakki. On our way there we took a momentary pause and headed to Frida chocolatier in Siglufjordur. Famous for its gourmet chocolates and its Heitt Sukkuladi (hot chocolate), if you happen to find yourself in the far far north corner of Iceland, this place is worth a stop. The hot chocolate was so creamy you could almost flip it over like a Dairy Queen milkshake. As a big chocolate fan, this was definitely one of my favorite stops.
After that, we trundled along towards Þingeyraklausturskirkja, a random church in the middle of nowhere! It's beautiful and deserted... And for us, closed.
After a full day, we headed to our accommodations in Laugarbakki. In the spirit of exploring, we ventured out briefly to a local restaurant called Sjávarborg. This adorable restaurant is bayside and serves the finest of Icelandic cuisine. Splitting a dinner of lamb fillet, more catch of the day, and a few local beers, we called it a night.