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On our way back south from the WestFjords we stopped at Flatey ("flat island"). Flatey is the only remaining year-round inhabited island (about 2km by 1 km in size) in the Breiðafjördur "archipelago" in West Iceland. This archipelago is a collection of about 50 small islands and hundreds to thousands of islets, skerries and reefs that the ferry weaves in and out of on its voyage. Nowadays, only a handful of people live on Flatey year-round but it swells to dozens in the summer time as people return to family homes on the island. In summer, the cross-Breiðafjördur ferry "Baldur" stops here four times a day on its two (one in winter) return trips from Brjanslaekur to Stykkisholmur.
Flatey was the site of a monastery in early Christian Iceland, the library of which hosted a famous illuminated manuscript of the Icelandic Sagas, the Flatey Book. The Flatey Book is the largest such manuscript in Iceland and is now in Reykjavik after having spent over 300 years in Copenhagen. The book is featured in a mystery novel "The Flatey Enigma" by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson. Flatey is also the location of "White Night Wedding" a comedy by Balthasar Kormakur (famous for "Trapped", "101 Reykjavik", etc.).
The day we stopped there was also the day of summer in Iceland (65F/18C). Bright blue skies, everybody (except tourists!) in shorts and tee-shirts, and kids swimming. It was also the day after the eider/bird sanctuary area opened, so we were able to walk the paths around the island and see the birds for which Flatey is famous. One of the income sources of Flatey's residents is down collection from the nests of eider ducks that nest all around the coast. At $1500 a kilo it is a lucrative, even if labour-intensive, supplement.
Category:Travel and Places