It began very early one morning when I was awakened by the telephone ringing, and upon answering, there was the immediate question: "Would you like to go to Akureyri?"
Akureyri nestled along Eyjafjordur and founded by Helgi the Lean about A.D. 900.
The telephone question wasn't that simple. First, Icelandic words change with the fluidity and rapidity of clouds, depending on their position and use in a sentence. Consequently, the immediate concern was my mispronunciation and misuse of "Akureyri." Eventually, I got it right, or the caller gave up trying to explain. In the end, I did manage a yes, and Sue and I immediately got dressed; there was no time to lose. The flight was within a half hour.
On a stopover to Iceland, there are various options (or used to be), such as domestic flights being half price. A flight to Akureyri seemed reasonable, as it is one of the most northern cities in the world. However, on inquiring about the flight, we had the answer that due to bad weather, all flights to Akureyri for the past several days were canceled. So much for that plan - till the morning phone call.
It was still quite dark in the morning, but the sun wouldn't rise till about 10 a.m. or so in November. The taxi to the airport was late, and there was a flurry of phone calls about that. Eventually it came and we reached the city airport in Reykjavik. Although Sue and I hesitated in the terminal, we were waved through to the runway on which a Fokker was about to close its doors. We were the last passengers to board.
Landing at Akureyri is quite a treat. The runway itself is situated in the fjord a little to the south of the city itself. Circling the runway, it looks as if one is about to descend onto a huge aircraft carrier. As it is, the runway is a result of the British "occupation" of Iceland in 1940. (U.S. troops replaced British ones in mid-1941.)
The smoothness of the landing was doubly impressive once walking across the runway; the ice was thick and incredibly slippery. Perhaps more pilots should study in Iceland?