We were promised horses at this next location – I could hardly wait! We had bags of carrots as friendship offerings! As you drive the main road between Hofn and Djupivogur, which is in the middle of nowhere, there is a gravel road that twists away from that main route. Then signs for “Viking Coffee” start to appear, it must be a joke I’m thinking. Eventually we come to a gravel parking area and a little building – Viking Coffee! The sign says you must pay for parking at the coffee shop. A short walk reveals a valley with what looks like a Viking village in a beautiful landscape and a large herd of Icelandic horses!
These horses are the descendants of the horses brought over by the Vikings over eleven centuries ago. It is thought that there was a separate species of horse found in the Scandinavian areas that were later crossed with European breeds, except in Iceland where it has remained pure. The horses are short in stature and sturdy looking.
The Icelandic horse has a “running walk” gait similar to that of the Paso Fino and the Tennessee Walker. Some are also bred for a “flying pace” which is very fast, some can run almost 30 miles per for short distance racing. When you see them at this “running walk” they are beautiful to watch, very smooth.
The people of Iceland seem very proud of these lovely horses which is why it is so hard to understand why they raise them for meat. We did see it offered on one menu but apparently most of the meat is exported to Japan.
The Viking Village that we saw was built in 2010 as a movie set for an Icelandic film that was never made. It does feel like the real thing and is very fun to wander around in; I wish we’d had more time here. Apparently Universal is supposed to film something here…..?
As we made our way back toward the coffee shop a few of us took an alternate route and found ourselves looking at a large pool of water or seasonal lake of unknown depth.
It was a mud flat! Although there were a few places where it was deep enough to get our shoes good and wet!
A cappuccino at the coffee stand was surprisingly well done.
One final stop on our way back to the hotel was made at a beach where we hoped to get a nice sunset and reflections on the sand.