We left our little cottage mid morning, picked up a hitchhiker just after getting on the main road, and headed west up onto the highlands (all be it the outskirts of the highlands) . Up there the land is flat and covered in snow for longer and the air is cooler, but it felt less cold than when we were caught in the wind and the rain on the south coast.
After a short stop to snap some photos we kept driving. Just before we got into the lake area, we saw pillars of white smoke on the left and went to investigate. It turned out to be a geothermal area of bubbling cauldrons and miniature volcanoes spouting sulfur smelling gas with a loud swooshing sound. It was quite something.
All the minerals make the ground look kind of strange
Feeling a bit sick with the sulfur smell, and well satisfied with geothermal activities, we headed down to the lake, dropped off our hitchhiker and checked in to our hotel. The surroundings of lake Myvatn are chock full of tourist destinations and it turns out our hotel is right in front of one of them. Naturally, this then became our starting point for exploration.
The sight we could see through the window is a series of smaller volcanic craters, not real volcanoes mind you though they were created during eruptions. It’s quite a thing to walk out the door and have a bunch of craters right there.
We drove out from the village and over to a bigger crater called Hverfjall, this being a real volcano (yes mom it’s dormant). The climb to the top is rather exhausting and the thing is huge, like a massive bowl more than a kilometer across. It’s all grey sand and rock which makes it frustratingly featureless to take pictures of but I ensure you, it’s very impressive.
We walked around the crater, it took us nearly an hour, then drove to Dimmuborgir, a strange alien landscape formed of lava from one explosion or other. Very special but I was strangely not quite as excited as I thought I would be.
When we came back from our stroll among the lava formations, it was about dinner time. We had some fantastic local bread with smoked chart as a starter and some mediocre mains. We finished the day by going to some natural hotsprings inside a cave. The water was too hot to go for a swim but we at least got to dip our feet.