Monday, May 10, 2010

Public transport - challenge in Iceland

Our big fishing event in a small fishing village Dalvik has been nicely rolling and the biggest highlight so far is a fish soup evening.
Imagine that 142 participants together with their family members get invited into homes of Dalvík locals to taste 4 different fish soups. We were divided in 4 groups and felt extremely privileged while strolling from home to home and enjoying this special atmosphere and surprises awaiting us in each and every home. We had it all: rotten shark, Brennivín - local spirit called black death and magnificient singing of a famous quartet. Not to mention that we had a lot of fun and singing and delicious soups the whole evening.
Competitors from 12 countries appreciated the hospitality very much, they simply loved it and were still talking about the event two days after it :). Indeed such presentation of local culture and hospitality will stay imprinted in all of those who took part.

As I´m writing this, competitors are out fishing, trying to get their best catch ever and their family members are checking out the possibilities ashore.
Today, I will share one possible itinerarry that, unfortunately didn´t take place, mainly due to challenges in public transport in Iceland.

Customers, staying in Olafsfjordur in beautiful cabins decided to do some whalewatching. Well, the closest destination to do some whalewatching is just 15 minutes drive in Dalvik. However, since the sea fishing competition is at its peak, all the boats are booked out until May 15th. Thus we booked whalewatching in Husavik for Friday and the itinerarry was supposed to be as follows:
Leave Olafsfjordur at 07.00 am by a local bus and get to Akureyri 08.00 am. Then buy the tickets for the bus to Husavik in a local information center in Akureyri and leave for Husavik by bus 08.15 getting to Husavik 09.30. Whalewatching in Husavik via Gentel Giants sounded promising with the offer of hot chocolate and local pastry included in the tour. The 3-hour tour was supposed to start 13.15, so plenty of time to explore the famous village of whale watching in Iceland before the tour.
However, when it came down to planning the journey back, quite some challenge arose.
There are two buses from Husavik to Akureyri that the clients could take after the tour: either 17.00 or 18.30 dearture. So that's great, we can even choose. But, how to get from Akureyri to Olafsfjordur on a Friday after this well planned whalewatching tour? after 16.30 - the time when the last bus leaves from Akureyri to Olafsfjordur - that's quite a challenge.

There are 3 options, really, either renting a car or taking a taxi or hitchhiking. Well, the taxi between Akureryri and Olafsfjordur would cost 17.000 ISK so the customers decided to give up on their great whalewatching plan and enjoyed local surroundings of Olafsfjordur.

The public transport is a bit more frequent in the summer season, which starts in June - just watch out, different companies might have different season division, so I attach a few links to help you to get oriented:

Akureyri-Olafsfjordur-Dalvik: company HBA
Akureyri-Husavik: company SBA

For other journeys in the north: company TREX
Reykjavík - Akureyri / Akureyri - Reykjavík (WINTER - SUMMER):
Staðarskáli - Hólmavík - Drangsnes - Staðarskáli (WINTER - SUMMER)
Varmahlíd - Sauðárkrókur - Siglufjörður - Varmahlíð (WINTER - SUMMER)
Reykjavík - Kjölur - Akureyri - Reykjavík (SUMMER)

Good luck and hopefully, public transport in Iceland will be getting better and better.

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