Stay: This Airbnb at Sunnuhlíð farmland - 12km from Akureyri. I was obsessed with this tiny house. I wanted to move in. It was perfect.
Dinner - Rub 23 in Akureyri is a refined Icelandic restaurant that highlights ingredients from local fisherman and farmers. We loved our meal here. Notably - the arctic char sushi, creative maki, and the bento box with reindeer carpaccio, duck salad, seared scallops and langoustine tempura. I also had a really good coffee/Frangelico/Baileys drink for dessert that came in a fancy chalice.
Northern Lights - I was so disappointed. On the 1-9 point scale we were at a 5. We came home from dinner, set up shop in front of the big window...and....nothing. We stayed up late, too. Considering our wild show the night before, I shouldn't have been too disappointed, but I couldn't help it! This time we were ready with a Northern Lights iphone app and my camera with the correct (?) settings. Ah well.
Breakfast - The city center is home to a number of sophisticated coffee shops; we wandered into Bláa Kannan and grabbed a caramelized onion and red pepper quiche with croissants, cheese, and jam for the road.
The drive on day four showed off an enchanting landscape with farms and small towns nestled in between handsome mountains. It was drizzling on and off, and out of nowhere appeared a huge rainbow. I didn't pull over, but I'll never forget how it sprawled all majestic alongside us.
Our route to Stykkishólmur lead us off Ring Road - which was a welcome change of pace. We took 61 to 59 to 60 to 54 to 58! These routes are not all paved, but most are well sealed so you can keep your speed. At the crossroads of 60 and 54 we detoured two miles to the sleepy little town of Búðardalur for gas plus an exciting lunch of gas station hot dogs at N1. I had read all about them as a popular Icelandic meal, so it was finally time to try one. The soft bun is loaded up with ketchup, mustard, raw onions, crispy fried onions and cradles a fresh dog topped with an earthy sweet remoulade. It was good! Aside from the hot dogs, Búðardalur was also special because I bought my wool sweater here. We came upon the cutest little shop run by a sweet older woman. I tried on about eight sweaters and finally found the one.