Lava lava lava
25.07.2014 - 25.07.2014 15 °C
Our guide today was called Bjorn. He was a youngish guy, drives buses of all sizes and is licensed to fly small planes. He's an engineer. He was full of info but by the end of the day, his eyes were drooping and I swear he was nodding off. Scary.
But we survived and I can blog it.
A Fokker 50 turbo prop took us to Akureyri which is the second largest populated place in Iceland. It is on the north coast and is painfully picturesque. Having a backdrop of snow capped mountain ranges and a fjord, it was like a living postcard. We didn't stay here though, it was a day for "the nature".
Lake Myvatn is an odd spot, the land around it has pseudo craters which look like what happens when you steam a pudding and the surface has evidence of popped bubbles. It looks for all the world like a peculiar golf course with too many bunkers, next to a very large lake with more bunkers in it.
We were blessed with a light wind that kept the midges away. Lake Myvatn is famous for midges, to the point of being called Midge Lake in English. Bjorn said anything smaller than a fly is called a mosquito in Iceland. That wouldn't work in Australia.
Another thing about Bjorn, he grew up on a farm and so he knew a thing or two about animal husbandry in Iceland. The sheep were of particular interest to me because they are so pretty like story book sheep. They come in 4 shades: brown, black, white and grey. White predominates. Brown sheep are like the rangas of the flock and get up to no good. Sheep are kept inside for winter and are released to wander the entire island for 6 months. When the time comes to round them up, the farmers all combine forces to search and muster. No dogs. On foot. Sheep are herded into stone walled sorting pens which are dotted around the place and farmers ID their sheep and take them home. I was so stunned, I forgot to ask how they do that last step.
The volcanic eruption that occurred 4000 years ago to form the pseudo crates also created some other interesting formations such as Dimmuborgir which means dark castles and it was a bit eerie here. You wander around a valley of towering dark lava forms that start to have faces the longer you look at them. Myth says that the trolls were out partying again and daylight turned them to stone. We also encountered those tectonic plates there, identified as a long crevice.
Those who saw the Game of Thrones film may like to know we saw the location of some filming. Here was a spot where the land rises up in a long hill and splits in half like a soft biscuit down the middle. Inside and underneath you climb down to find clear blue bath warm water scented with sulphur. Unbelievable.
Some landscape is so dry and dusty, you might think you are in outback Australia, complete with a grey Uluru. That being the perfect cinder cone, an entire circle of 1km diameter, called Hverfall. People walk around it. I wish we had had the time.
A stop off in a village for lunch..... Lunch options: service station, supermarket or restaurant?
Supermarket picnic all good, but nowhere to sit. Wandered around, found a hillock by the road and watch the few people and cars go by. Of course sometimes buying food in foreign places means a risk is taken when guessing what packets contain. Paul wanted an iced coffee. Kaffi is coffee and mjölk is milk, easy right? No, the carton contained cream for coffee. 12% fat. Mmmmm. I was happy with my Blàbur juice, thank you.
I've put up photos of the Námafyall region called Hverarönd where the boiling mud, fumaroles and sulphur deposits are seen. Totally like being on a film set for an alien movie or perhaps a dinosaur might come stampeding around the mountain..... This is earth in its most primitive form. It's like seeing the birth of planet earth, or it might be post apocalyptic, I have no other words for this dry, desolate side of Iceland.
Every day shows us something different.