Tuesday July 8th
I woke up and went for a run through Akureyri, the elevation of some of the hills was a nice change from flat Florida. There was a lite drizzle of rain and the air was brisk and cool, not unlike Seattle. After we got ready, we headed out to get on the Ring Road. The first stop was Goðafoss waterfall, the waterfall of the Gods. The route was very steep at times as the road launched up the side of a mountain and then down into a valley where the waterfall and lake were. As you approach the waterfall, you can see huge flumes of mist coming up from the ground. The waterfall is right off of the highway, and there is a gas station/cafe right at the “exit” before going over a narrow bridge to the edge of the waterfall. There was a path from the gas station that went to the other side of the waterfall so you could see it at every angle. We just went to the part that you could park your car along side of it. The footing was kind of uneven and you should definitely wear shoes that will allow you to traverse over the rocks and rough patches. You can get as close as you want to the edge of the waterfall. After we left the waterfall, we went back over to the gas station, which sold the exact same style of hotdog as the amazing stand in Reykjavik. Leaving Goðafoss, we began our approach to lake Mývatn. The landscape looked like something out of a video game, with small hilltop island poking out of the lake and lava formations jutting out randomly everywhere. A huge mountain range dominated the distan horizon. We pulled off the Ring Road and onto a gravel road, to head towards a lava field named Dimmuborgir, which means “Dark Castle”. It is supposed to be where Satan landed when he fell from the heavens, and the black metal band from Norway got the name from this. Walking among the lava pillars was like nothing I have ever seen, it really felt like we were on another planet. Or in hell.
After we left the lava field, there were a few other spots we wanted to visit in the area, all of which were accessible from the highway by taking gravel roads. Some of the roads were very narrow and had some large holes and rocks littering them. An ancient exploded volcano was next on the trip, which was a very steep climb but doable if you are wearing the right shoes. The view from the top allowed for one of the most breath taking panoramas you will ever see. You can even journey down into the center of the volcano, which is filled with black sand. The last spot on our day journey was the geothermal fields. It reeked of sulphur and was very acrid. Again, it looked like we were on the surface of the moon with all of the pits opened up and filled with bubbling hot water and tar like substance. Smoke billowed out of holes littering the landscape. There were small mountains nearby that you can hike up to get good views of the area. After walking around until I felt like my eyes were burning, it was time to head back to the city. The drive back was a different route along the lake and there was no shortage of amazing scenery close to the water. There were several pastures with the beautiful Icelandic horses roaming freely through.
When we got back to Akureyri, we ate and then went to the bar to watch the World Cup game. There were people coming and going the entire time and we had a few of the local beers which were decent. This was also the day that I stayed up to see the midnight sun phenomena. 24 hours of light is still something I don’t think I could adjust to.
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