The reason we chose to stay in Akureyri was how close it was to several impressive waterfalls as well as to Myvatn National Park, sites we picked as particularly interesting after a little research into the sights of Iceland. It would have been nice to stay closer to the park, but online at least there wasn’t anything left to be had when I finally got around to booking our stay. Chris ended up doing a lot of driving back and forth, but at least it was never night.
Our first destination from Akureyri was Gothafoss (which is actually spelled with the a “th” symbol, but I’m too lazy to type in the html code every time I need it, so I’ll just spell it out). The falls were everything the guidebooks promised. Several kilometers before we got there, we could see the mist rising from what looked like a flat plain. Here are a couple of pictures:
(There are more on my Flickr page.)
From Gothafoss, we continued on to Myvatn National Park, an ideal site to become acquainted with Iceland’s fascinating geological activity. Our first stop was on the south end of Myvatn Lake, at the so-called pseudo craters, formed by rivers of lava flowing across wet ground:
Coming around the corner of the lake, there is an interesting site with lava formations right on the edge of the lake:
Just a few kilometers north of that is Dimmuborgir, a fascinating lava field full of bizarre formations, with a number of different possible hikes taking you through the lava fields. Not far away is also a crater, and when Chris sees a mountain, he wants to climb it. So we split up, and I hiked through the lava formations, while Chris headed off for the crater. The big attraction of the hike I went on was the so-called “Kirkja” or church:
Here’s a sampling of what Chris saw on his hike to the top of the crater:
Towards the end of my hike, I started noticing some interesting symbols in the dust at my feet. After a bit, I caught up with a family I suspect was Icelandic, with a girl of about eight, who was drawing things in the path with a stick. As I passed them, I told the mother in English, “I’ve been enjoying her art for a while now.” The mother appears to have translated my comment for her daughter, because from that point onward, the little girl kept dashing ahead of me, drawing more symbols in the dust, and then dashing back to her family.
After Dimmuborgir, we stopped for lunch at the Cowshed Cafe, recommended both by Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor, and it did not disappoint. I had an amazing smoked lamb salad, I think the only time on Iceland when I didn’t eat fish:
After lunch, we headed east away from the lake for the mud pots, a stinking mess of geothermal activity. I can’t remember offhand when the last time was that I was in Yellowstone, but I certainly haven’t seen anything like it since.
From the mud pots, we went to Krafla and the Viti crater, with its nearby power station:
That was an incredibly long day, so before heading “home” to Akureyri and our vacation rental, we hit the northern version of the blue lagoon, the Myvatn Nature Baths:
Soaking in those warm, blue sulfur waters was the perfect end to a long day.
Unfortunately, the drive home was less fun, through a lot of fog at the top of the hills, combined with driving into the sun. Still, it was a great day.