Wednesday July 9th
We woke up and went to the city center of Akureyri to get some Icelandic donuts, which were enormous sweet rolls. As we filled up the car with gas we met a guy traveling the same route as us to the festival, he had the same Pantera CFH tattoo on his forearm that I have on my calf, so he introduced himself to me. His name was Kadi and he was the guitarist in a black metal band that was playing at the fest. Everyone in Iceland was so nice, especially the music fans. We diverted from the Ring Road so we could drive along the coast to a city called Husavik, which is one of the whale watching hot spots. After getting some small gifts for family back home (we didn’t see any whales), we headed south off of the coastal road and onto a gravel road that slowly climbed in elevation as we made our back into the islands interior. We were headed to one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland, Dettifoss. This is where the opening to the movie Prometheus was filmed. When we arrived, it was readily apparent that this was a much larger waterfall than the day prior. The water was roaring down into a river and you could spend all day walking around that enormous canyon. Samantha got pretty dangerously close to the edge, and was sitting with her feet dangling over the edge of oblivion.
After we left Dettifoss, we still had over an hour on the road from hell. I was really worried about blowing a tire on all of the rocks littering the road. We stopped one time to take photos in this field of purple flowers, which I read are actually brought over from Alaska. When we got back to the Ring Road, we had a few hours to drive across the north eastern part of the island down into the eastern fjords. The roads near the water were very windy, with a very steep climb to the very top of the mountain before shooting down back to the water and the small town of Neskaupstaður, where the festival was held. When we arrived at our hostel, the very nice and helpful lady informed us we were more than welcome to stay an extra night there for the next day instead of traveling all the way back up the mountain to the town on the other side of the fjord. This was crucial because there was no way we would have felt safe making that drive after a day of music and partying. The concert venue was down the street so we drove down and parked on the docks in front of the venue. We played our music really loud, everyone seemed to enjoy it. We met some people that had flown in from Norway and we ended up hanging out with them during the down times between bands. They were extremely nice and we shared our beer and food amongst each other. While we were picking up our show passes, everyone seemed to have heard about the two people from Florida that had come to see At The Gates. They were all so nice to us and told us that the band was down the block at the pizza parlor watching the World Cup game. We walked over and sure enough, the drummer Adrian Erlandson was catching the end of the match. We headed back to the venue and saw their guitar player outside taking some photos of the fjord. We took a photo with him and told him we were big fans of his, then went inside.
The band headlining this first night was Sólstafir, an Icelandic band who was just about to release their new record. I was scheduled to do an interview with their drummer, but ended up doing it via email. Which was too bad because I was standing right next to him on the docks and didn’t even know it. Their set was incredible and we were totally in to their new songs that they played. During their set, I looked over and lo and behold, it was Tomas Lindberg, the legendary lead singer of At The Gates. He was incredibly nice and answered of all of my questions. He took some photos with the two of us and was shocked we had come all of the way from Florida to see them play. We seemed to be the only person in the show that recognized him. Either that or Icelanders don’t really bother famous people when they see them out and about. After the show ended, we headed back to our room to rest up for the big day.
Iceland | Day 1: Reykjavik & Suðurnes | Day 2: Akureyri & drive North | Day 3: Mývatn & Goðafoss | Day 4: Dettifoss & drive West to Norðfjörður | Day 5: Eistnaflug | Day 6: Glacier Lagoons & the drive South