The morning began by entering the beautiful Siglufjörður. The tips of the mountains were covered by a fog, and there was a light sprinkling of rain, making for a very beautiful start to the day.
After breakfast, we visited the incredible Herring Museum and learned about the booming herring fishing industry that took place from approximately 1903-1968. In the late 1960s, the herring fisheries in Iceland collapsed due to overfishing. Before the collapse, Siglufjörður was a thriving city full of people who came to make money off the herring.
After arriving to the museum, the staff transported us back in time through a live action demonstration of what it used to be like to prepare the herring after the catch. The “herring girls” cut and salted the fish to preserve it. The salts could contain different herbs and cinnamon for flavor. It was amazing to gain insight into what it was like to work for the industry and to hear from women who were herring girls. For many women, it was their first opportunity to earn money for themselves, and they were very proud of their work.
Once inside the museum, we were guided by extremely knowledgeable staff who shared stories and the history of the fisheries. We even visited a recreated harbor, saw original living quarters, and ate pickled herring!
After this, we made our way to the beautiful city of Akureyri. The day had turned sunny, and we even saw some humpback whales on our way into the fjord! Once docked, we were able to explore the city, including visits to the botanical gardens and a beautiful church.
In the evening, we were serenaded by the incredible Svavar Knútur. Not only did Svavar play beautiful folk music, but he was also absolutely hilarious. It was as much a comedy show as it was a musical performance. It was a day and night to never forget!