I believe we may have found where Santa’s reindeer spend the summer months. Iceland’s Eastern Coast.
Today we went on a reindeer safari with Tinna Adventure in Breiddalsvik. We drove to the coastal village to meet owner Helga for a 4-hour trip filled with good humor and so many interesting sights.
First of all, we did see reindeer! Not native to the island (very little wildlife is), the animals were first introduced by Norwegians. It’s only been recently that herds have thrived and they now number somewhere between 5 – 7,000 in number.
Helga is local, having grown up in the area and returned after her advanced education. She showed us her part of the world with great pride and deep knowledge. She loaded us into her Super Jeep and off we went. Helga answered every one of the questions I’d been wondering about on this trip and shared great insider tips that will change the way we view the landscape from here on.
The reindeer are actually a light color, and if you aren’t tuned in, you might mistake them for a herd of sheep grazing in the hills. It’s the males that are visible this time of year since the females have given birth deep in the highlands.
Eastern Iceland is ruggedly beautiful and a more undiscovered place as far as tourism. We visited Djupivogur and saw an outdoor art installation of 34 giant stone bird eggs arranged around the harbor. Known as the “Eggs of Merry Bay,” they represent each breed in the region.
Before heading back to base, we stopped at the beautiful Fossardalur falls for a snack of hot tea and tasty rolled pancakes (a local specialty, more like a crepe). These are the falls I would want in my neighborhood. And I’ll take the reindeer for neighbors any day.
Of note: back in Breiddalsvik, Helga took us by the Factory Car Museum she and her husband co-own with three other couples. Cars are a passion with Helga’s family, and they repurposed the old fish factory into this museum. It’s a beautiful, fun collection and so surprising to find a rare and luxury European and American car museum here. Just proves you have to get out and meet people to find out what is really going on.