Akureyri – population 17,500 Iceland’s second largest city, located at the head of the Eyjafjörður. The city bus system is free!
Statue of Helgi the Lean and his wife Þórunn, the first settlers of the Eyjafjörður region in 890 ce. Helgiwas both Norse and Celtic. Many Icelanders have Celtic ancestry, evidenced in an abundance of red hair, as a result of Norse Vikings intermarrying with Celtic women and bringing over Celtic slaves in the early days of settlement.
Stained glass windows depict both the life of Christ and important chapters in the history of Christianity in Iceland.
The middle window came from Coventry Cathedral in Britain. Someone removed the window at the start of WW2, saving the stained glass from the destruction of the cathedral during the Nazi bombings of London. An Icelandic antiques dealer bought the window in London and installed it here.
Husavík’s Whale Museum Housed in a former slaughterhouse, the museum includes the biology of the world’s whales, as well as exploring Iceland’s relationship with whales, including commercial whaling. Iceland ended whaling with the 1989 worldwide ban on commercial whale hunts until 2002 when they rejoined the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Commercial whaling resumed in 2006, but was terminated after a year due to a lack of markets, only to be resumed in 2008. Strict quotas are followed, but remains controversial.
Iceland’s medieval law manuscript – the Jónsbók – detailed who owned the meat of beached whales, when such meat could feed an entire community in lean times. The skeletons in the museum are from beached or drowned whales, not from whale hunts.