For those of you trying to follow along from home (and for my own memory), here's how we got where we are:
Two days in Legoland in Billund, Denmark. Then we took the Danish Inter-City rail (plus a ride on a local spur) to Hirtshals to stay in the Motel Nordsøen for a night before getting on the Smyril Line ferry to Iceland.
Three awesome nights on the ferry crossing the North Sea and the North Atlantic, driving through the Faroe Islands, and a dramatic arrival on the east coast of Iceland, which is all magnificent fjords.
In Seyðisfjörður on Thursday went to the tourist office (they have really good tourist offices everywhere here) and explained we had until Tuesday in the country, I was thinking about going to see the whales in Husavik on the north coast, but what should we do? He suggested the plan of renting a car in Egilsstaðir, driving past Lake Mývatn through to Husavik (three hour drive), driving on to Akureyri to catch a plane to Reykyavik, doable in a day. I tweaked his suggestion to stay in Husavik for the night so we could have a more relaxed drive, which was a good idea, because the country between Egilsstaðir and Husavik is pretty amazing.
Here's an interesting anecdote. Seyðisfjörður is tiny enough that we noticed we were seeing the same half-dozen cars driving around all day. One of them was a red mid-eighties Mustang with a black soft top. When I'm talking to the tourist guy on Thursday, he says we catch the bus to Egilsstaðir "right out there" (hand-wavey gesture), which makes sense since we're standing in the ferry terminal, though the terminal lies dormant six days of the week. So Friday morning we get up to catch the 8:55 bus to Egilsstaðir (there are only two busses a day), and are standing quite along in an empty and windswept parking lot, hoping we're in the right place. That red Mustang drives up and rolls down his window, and I ask him if this is where we find the bus to Egilsstaðir. He says it doesn't usually come there, but he'd go talk to the driver and make sure he comes to pick us up. Which is what happened.
Who that guy in the red car was, we'll never know. Could have been the mayor, who knows? But everybody here is like that, super friendly. To be fair, the tourist information guy showed up right after the red car guy left, to open the information office, and said the bus does always stop there. But still.
So we drove through the interior to Husavik, and spent the night at a lady's house there (picked out of the Lonely Planet guide). Think of your grandmother's house overlooking a bay in northern Iceland. All the tschotskes and family photos and nice floral upholstery on the furniture, really great.
The next morning the drive to Akureyri and 45-minute flight on a propeller plane over some more amazing terrain with the glaciers in the distance and we're in the capital city. The first guest house I called was full, but the lady says she's got a room in an apartment house for $14,000 isk. That sounds pricey to me and I balk, so she lowers the price a bit and offers to pick us up at the airport, but I still kind of suspect I'm being taken. The landlady is definitely working hard with a lot of irons in the fire. I want to say "hustling", but that's not the right word--there's nothing to indicate everything isn't completely above-board. I relax though when I find the room next door is occupied by a Swiss girl waiting for her boyfriend to get back from mountaineering in Greenland (big storms there, flights delayed) so they can go camping in the interior. I figure the Swiss know what they're doing, so it must be ok here. This morning amused to find out that she doesn't even know how much the lady is charging her. Ha ha.