Cruise to Faroe Islands, Iceland and the Shetland isles day 4
Wow!! that is the word which comes to mind to describe todays visit to Eskifjordur. What a beautiful yet simple place, situated at the head of a fiord flanked with snowcapped mountains on either side. Multi-colored prim houses lining the two roads that meander through the township, every one of them a credit to their owners, I did not see a single one of them in any state of disrepair, just like the fishing boats that inhabit the harbor.
Eskifjordur is an important fishing port for this area of Iceland and most probably where the obviously buoyant economy derives a great benefit from. The township was founded in 1248 but human settlements date back at least 5,000 years. Because of its position it gradually became a major trading hub and key centre of commerce within the Hanseatic League
We docked at 11.30 and I headed along the waterfront to where I could see a water course tumbling down the mountain side in a series of spectacular waterfalls. I had prepared for cold weather as looking from the ship I could see a distinct snow line running along the hill tops, however as soon as I had disembarked I could feel the warmth in the sun and before long my jacket was in the small rucksack I had with me, and my sleeves rolled up.
A group of about 20 young actor/dancers came out of a church hall further along the street all with painted white faces, the one in the front carried a sign saying “ we will dance for an hour and 20 minutes” heading in the direction I had just came from. I was tempted to follow but the mountain called, and so I held on, crossing a burn and finding a rough path which headed through a small wooded area in the direction of the waterfalls.
I had intended bringing proper walking boots but had forgotten to pack them and the shoes had on were hardly suitable but at least gave a good grip on the rocks which were in the main volcanic black Garbo, always a good surface to get a grip on. As I climbed higher the view became more spectacular with every stop for breath I took (which was quite often). Every photo opportunity was also a brief excuse for a rest, and I followed the water course almost to the snow line where commonsense took over and because of the flimsy footwear I turned back, feeling quite accomplished and even ran down some of the hill, just like old times but without the heavy Bergan.
A fantastic unexpected walk on a gloriously sunny day in Iceland and as I neared the bottom of the hill I spotted a hostelry where I had a good meal of some sort of stew with Chicken and vegetables accompanied by rice and washed down with a large glass of orange juice and free Wi Fi, heaven.
Iceland has less than half a million people, I think it is something like 380 thousand. It is fully independent, very prosperous and forward thinking. The last war it was involved in was the Cod war with Britain, which was a dispute over fishing rights in the North Atlantic. A war it won without the loss of a single person, against (at that time) a country with one of the largest armed forces in the World, It didn’t win it by force of arms but by what they had where they were. Iceland is the key to the north Atlantic and they have one of the largest airfields on the planet. Probably larger, with longer runaways than Heathrow. They are also a member of NATO, so all they did was threaten to come out of NATO and that brought Britain to heel.
Iceland does not have thousands of ex-service men sleeping rough on the streets affected by post traumatic stress, because of the horrors of war perpetrated by big business to get their hands on other countries oil and they do not have a cesspit of governess like we have in Westminster, because when things go that way they do something about it , they put the culprits in Jail ,like they did after the banking crisis in 2008 , when they bailed out the people and jailed the bankers. They are a stable wealthy country at peace with themselves just like Scotland could be with independence. Oh and as for the currency thing, I went into a supermarket to get a few things this afternoon and paid by card, I got the choice of paying for my purchases in any currency I chose, I chose pounds sterling, it is as easy as that.
So after quite an exceptional day I am sitting in the coffee shop on he ship looking out as we sail back down the fiord heading for the next Islandic port of call on the itinerary, lets hope it is another day like today .