North Iceland Detours.
An occasional 20-30 minute detour off the main road brought us to some amazing gems that we just couldn’t pass by!
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Literally in the middle of nowhere, Modrudalur is the highest inhabited farm above sea level. The houses are built in the old turf house style, the traditional way of building houses here. The church was built by the farmer himself in 1949 in memory of his wife who had died in 1944. There are beautiful views with Mount Herdubreid (Queen of Icelandic Mountains) in the distance. There is also a quaint turf covered café that serves local food where we gave their moss soup a try. It was surprisingly good! Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds! The petrol station (which also sells diesel) is an old-style turf building that is still standing and operational. The long gravel road brought pretty views in the distance, but the only thing close to us, besides rocks, were a group of mountain goats that we spotted on a nearby hill.
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Known as the whale watching capitol of the north, Husavik is an adorable little town full of sea-side bustle, colorful homes, and nautical street art. We didn’t partake in any of the whale watching tours, but instead enjoyed a walk/drive around the area. I especially loved the towering yellow lighthouse that sat on the ocean’s edge; the snow dusting the mountaintops in the distance made for one jaw-dropping background! Such breathtaking views all around this town!
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A small turf farm that stretches back to the Middle-Ages, Láufas sits by the estuary of the river Fnjoska and has incredible views. The farm is a renowned church site and chieftan’s residences; a good example of a wealthy vicarage in earlier times. It has been rebuilt regularly, or as needed. I would love to live in one of these turf covered homes! Now a museum, the artifacts which are kept in the farm were collected from the early ’60’s. Many of them are from the neighboring farms but a few actually originate from Láufas. Láufas Church was built in 1865, influenced by classical architecture, and includes a pulpit from 1698.
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It seemed to take foreverrrrr to reach this church but boy am I glad that we didn’t miss this! Not only were we the only people to be seen but we rarely passed any cars in either direction! Just a very straight, easy, beautiful drive to a spectacular destination. Grafarkirkja is the oldest Christian church in Iceland and one of the very few to feature any sort of ornamentation. It looks like something straight out of a fairy tale!! A unique feature to this church is the circular graveyard, an ancient form. (“Grof” in Icelandic means grave).
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Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!
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