To the North (Iceland)

The morning after camping in Egilsstadir, we drove towards the “Myvatn” region. “Dettifoss” would have been our first destination of the day, however, we would have had to drive gravel roads for kilometres, and we weren´t up for that adventure. So, our first stop was an area full of sulphur springs. We had already seen clouds of smoke from the windows of our car, and when we arrived, we couldn´t help but notice the odour of rotten eggs. I really had to pull myself together not to have the urge to throw up. It was amusing seeing tons of people walking around while they were holding their nose. We wandered around a bit and then drove to the “Grjotagja cave”. On the way, we came across a light blue pond/ small lake, which, to be honest, wasn´t as idyllic as the picture might make it look. The cave we visited has become quite famous as it was a film location for “Game of Thrones”. People used to use it for swimming, but now the water is said to be too hot. Anyway, it wouldn´t be that romantic with the amount of tourists taking pictures in this cramped space. Nonetheless, I did quite like how the rays of light entered the cave, and turned the water different shades of blue.

(Sulphur springs)

(Grjotagja cave)

In the late afternoon, “Myvatn”, which means “mosquitoe lake” was finally in sight. There really were many insects, but luckily we weren´t stung. By chance, we once again met the Germans from the camping site in Egilsstadir and had a lunch break together. As we had taken less time to get here than expected, we decided to drive a little further. We passed “Godafoss”, which I found very impressive and ended our day in Akureyri, the biggest city on the North coast. With the reviews of the Akureyri camp site not being too good, we drove to the “Hamrar” camp site (around 1500 ISK per person), which is only ten minutes from the city. There were literally no people anywhere on this huge plot, but as the facilities looked superbe, we stayed anyways. Towards nightfall, people (including the Germans) did arrive. It turned out to be the best camping experience of the whole trip. That was what I had imagined camping to feel like. I can still hear the sound of the wind in the trees. Akureyri itself has everything one could need: shops, a cultural center, a tourist information center, a church similiar to “Hallgrimskirkja” in Reykjavik, restaurants and “bars”. Nevertheless, if you´re looking to get to know Akureyri within half an hour, that´s possible as well.

(Myvatn)

(Godafoss)

(Akureyri)

(Cultural center in Akureyri)

After a rough night, we drove West to “Glaumbaer Museum”, which is a farmstead made of peat. For us, the houses seemed like they had been built for dwarfs, because they looked like straight out of a children´s movie. Strengthened by a piece of cake we had brought, we wanted to drive up the Eastern coast of Vatnsnes peninsula in search of seals. Of course, it was a gravel road, and we tried again on the Western coast. This time, we were lucky. Up until the village “Hvammstangi” the road was paved, and further North the condition of the gravel road was better than usually. It had been my boyfriend´s wish to see seals on this journey. And we did! We spotted two seals very close to the shore around Illugastadir, just chilling on some rocks. What a dream come true!

That night, we camped at “Hverinn Camping” (around 1600 ISK per person) close to Reykholt. As it was rather cold, we set up our tent in one of their greenhouses. From what I can remember, they promoted this as living in a “Hobbit House”. Well, as happy as I was not being cold, it did smell a bit, and it was hard accepting countless spiders as our neighbours. But hey, we survived! When I was standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth the next morning, I looked out of the window, saw the yellow leaves on the trees and suddenly realized that it was autumn now. Summer 2017 was over. A beautiful summer 2017 was over.

(Houses made of peat)

(Vatnsnes peninsula)

(Seal watching)

kjb

(“Hobbit Houses”)

 

 

 

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