Halldór Halldórsson, who stepped down as Mayor of Ísafjördur, the largest town in the West Fjords, last fall after 12 years in office is now one of the owners and guides of Ögur Travel by the fjord Ísafjardardjúp.
Halldór Halldórsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“When you’ve been in the same job for so long, especially if it’s a job like being a mayor, it’s healthy to renew yourself. And that’s what I’m doing now,” Halldórsson told Morgunbladid.
Ögur Travel is a family-run company in the truest sense of the word: in addition to Halldórsson, it is run by his wife, mother, six siblings and their spouses.
The company offers various walks and kayak tours in Ögurvík bay and the vicinity which take one to six hours and longer tours to other parts of the West Fjords can also be arranged.
Halldórsson and his siblings were raised in Ögur and know the rural district well. Their mother still lives there and she is the district’s only inhabitant who lives there year-round.
“The company’s origin can be traced back to when my siblings and I discussed in 2003 how we could spend more time in Ögur and tourism was the answer. The first step is walks and kayak tours and then we will move on to catering and accommodation,” Halldórsson explained.
One of his brothers, Haflidi Halldórsson, chairs the Icelandic Club of Master Chefs, and he intends to serve tempting dishes made from local ingredients. However, that won’t happen until later, perhaps next summer.
In its heyday, almost 200 people lived in Ögurvík. In 1945, approximately 60 inhabitants were left but after that the countryside was practically deserted.
People moved away and took their houses with them—building material was expensive—leaving only the foundations. In some places the tiles from the kitchen floors can still be seen.
Ögur Travel’s guides will include the countryside’s history and farming methods in their tours, take visitors to locations mentioned in the Icelandic saga Fóstbraedrasaga and/or Halldór Laxness’s Gerpla, which is based on the saga, tell funny stories about the inhabitants and cover the area’s versatile nature.
“People who have traveled with us, regardless of whether they’ve joined our seal tour, the Ögurhólma tour or other tours, say that only five minutes after the tour begins they feel as if they’ve entered the wilderness,” Halldórsson described.
Click here to read more about the former mayor.