A Travellerspoint blog

Iceland Part 2

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27th August

Today we headed for Mývatn. It was a dismal day with low cloud and rain so unfortunately we did not get to see much of the scenery along the way. We went off road in the morning hoping to get some views but they did not eventuate. So we made our way back onto the ring road and continued our journey.
We did however get to see our first Icelandic reindeer.
Once again there were quite a few waterfalls along the roadside as we drove by. You could stop every 5 minutes if you had the time. Here is one of the ones that we thought was quite pretty.
The temperature dropped significantly as we continued on our way. It was only 6 degrees.
Our first stop today was at Dettifoss. It is the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe, and we heard it rumble long before we saw it. This prevailing chute stands 45 metres high and is 100 metres across, allowing an epic 193 m3 of water to cascade into Dettifoss’ gorge every second. The falls got its big blockbuster moment in the science-fiction film Prometheus in 2012. It’s rushing white waters and surrounding harsh, rocky terrain provided for a convincing alien landscape.
We then made a short walk to Selfoss. This unique, horseshoe shaped waterfall shares the same basalt walls as Dettifoss. This intricate 11m waterfall is simply stunning.
We made our way back to the ring road but I couldn’t help but notice the colours of the tundra.
Our next stop was a geothermal area. We drove past the Leirbotn power station. Infact I had to take a photo of Shane driving down the road as the steam pipes go over the road.
This is some of the steam plants from the view point.
We drove through Krafla caldera. It is 10 km in diameter. It erupted a staggering nine times between 1974 and 1984, with 29 total eruptions in recorded history. Krafla stands an impressive 818 metres tall and its caldera is 2 km deep. The western side of Krafla is an active geothermal area, rich with fumaroles and solfataras (bubbling mud springs). This is also where you’ll find the colourful peak Leirhnjúkur. It is a 525 metre tall active volcano surrounded by mud pots and fumaroles, hence its name, which translates to “mud peak.” The surrounding Leirhnjúkur lava field is an impressive sight to behold. The black, craggy and ominous-looking terrain is a testament to the Earth’s raw volcanic energy.
On the northwest side of the Krafla caldera is Víti an explosion crater, 300 metres in diameter with green lake inside of it. The name Víti, meaning Hell, comes from the old belief that hell was located under volcanoes. Up on the rim there are rocks rocks that are still warm to the touch from the “Krafla Fires,” a long lasting fissure eruption from 1977 to 1984.
From there we moved onto Námaskarð. This geothermal area located by the pass over Mount Námafjall is also called Námafjall, Hverir or Hverarönd, interchangeably. The area draws many visitors to its Martian-like terrain; the mountainside is stained neon green, orange and stark white thanks to the various gases escaping from subterranean vents. But before you even reach the steaming vents, boiling mud pools and multi-coloured sands, we smelt its characteristic “rotten egg” Sulphur stench from the car… and we smelt it long after our walk around the marked paths. Iceland truly is an experience for all the senses!
We then arrived in Mývatn which is a shallow eutrophic lake situated in an area of active volcanism in the north of Iceland. Myvatn means “lake of midges” – literally. You need to keep your mouth shut unless you want added protein in your diet. The lake and its surrounding wetlands have an exceptionally rich population of water birds, especially a variety of ducks. The lake was created by a large basaltic lava eruption 2300 years ago, and the surrounding landscape is dominated by volcanic landforms, including lava pillars and rootless vents. We found our accommodation that we will have for 2 nights. We are staying at Vogar Farm. We can even go and watch the cows being milked if we like. After getting the key to our room we once again got into the car and headed off to see what else we could see. It continued to rain lightly, but we didn’t let that stop us. We decided to head around the lake for a drive. You couldn’t see much of the lake due to the weather but we did make a few stops.
The natural stone labyrinth of Dimmuborgir is located to the east of Lake Mývatn. It is composed of several rock formations and caves, the best known of which is probably Kirkjan, the ‘Church’.
Dimmuborgir a magnificent lava landscape with extraordinary formations, columns, caves, and arches created by the flow of a lava lake over a marshy area some 2300 years ago. As the hot lava flowed over the marsh, the water in the ground began to boil, and the rising vapours created the areas’s distinct lava pillars. Dimmuborgir, which means “dark cities,” is considered in Icelandic folklore to be an area connecting earth with hell, and is also thought to be the location where Satan landed when cast from the Heavens.
The Skútustaðagígar pseudo-craters were next on our list. The craters themselves are not magma-producing volcanic vents but were formed by gas explosions when boiling lava flowed over the cool, wet surfaces about 2,300 years ago.
It started pouring with rain so we gave our touring away and headed back to our nice warm room.

28th August

We had another big day planned today so we set off straight after breakfast. It was cold and cloudy and was only 4 degrees, so the heater went on and we even put the heated seats on. That made us nice and cosy. For a completely different experience, there’s Grjótagjá, a small lava cave with a hot spring inside. It was a popular bathing site until Krafla erupted from 1975 through 1984, causing the water temperature to raise above 50 °C. The cave received international fame when it was visited by Jon Snow and Ygritte in an episode of the Game of Thrones television show. We thought it was worth a visit seeing we are Game of Thrones fans.
From there we headed on an off road adventure. We decided to take a dirt road to a remote part of the north to visit a couple of stops on our way to Husavik. The first stop was Hljóðaklettar which are a collection of basalt columns lying in every which direction to create unique formations and arched caves that are known to create eerie echoes and reverberations. It is located at the entrance to Vesturdalur, in the Vatnajökull National Park.
There were a couple of interesting formations. The first was quite amazing due to the honeycomb weathering effect.
The next one was once again called The Church.
We then continued further to Ásbyrgi canyon which is more than one kilometre wide and over three kilometres long, shaped like a massive horseshoe. Legend has it that the canyon acquired its distinct horseshoe shape thanks to Sleipnir, the 8-legged flying horse of Norse god Odin. While Odin was out on a joy ride with Sleipnir one fine day, the horse accidentally touched one of its giant hooves onto the earth, creating the mighty canyon. Though this explanation for the canyon’s unique shape is completely reasonable and believable, geologists assert that two massive floods from Vatnajökull glacier are responsible for its formation, the first 10,000 years ago and the second 3,000 years ago. The large rock “island” in the centre of the canyon, and its high surrounding walls have sheltered the area enough to allow for lush greenery to grow throughout.
We were then back onto a tarmac road and headed for the coast. The sun had come out and it even went up to 8 degrees. We followed the coast until we arrived in Husavik. Húsavík is a fishing village of 2,300 inhabitants and has impressive views of the Kinnarfjöll mountains across the bay.
More recently, the town has become well known as the whale watching capital of Europe.
The church in Húsavík was built in 1907, it is said to be the most beautiful wooden church in Iceland.
There were more sheep again today of course and I couldn’t resist these 3.
Our next stop was in Þingeyjarsveit, where there is an old turf house settlement Grenjaðarstaður. The 775 square metre turf farmhouse dates back to Iceland’s settlement over 1000 years ago and was one of Iceland’s largest turf houses. The oldest portion of the existing building dates to the mid-1800s. Though you may find this surprising, the turf farmhouse was inhabited until 1949 and became a museum in 1958.
We then headed for another famous waterfall. Goðafoss, ("Waterfall of the Gods“) is among the most beautiful falls in the country. Though it is not very tall, the cascade is divided into two horseshoe-shaped falls, making it unique among Icelandic waterfalls. Not far above the falls the river Skjálfandafljót divides in two, forming the island Hrútey. According to the Sagas, Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði threw his statues of pagan gods into the falls upon deciding that Iceland would officially convert to Christianity in the year 1000. We first visited the falls on the west side.
Then the east side.
Then we walked down to be at river level. We got 3 different perspectives on the falls.
After spending quite a bit of time there, we headed back to Myvatn as we still had a couple of things to do there. We visited the lake to see some of the bird life.
We couldn’t stop laughing at the swans bums in the air.
Here are some views of the lake.
We then headed for the enormous tephra crater Hverfjall which was formed in an explosive eruption some 2,500 years ago. At one kilometre in diameter, Hverfjall is probably the biggest tephra crater in Europe. It didn’t take too long to climb up to the rim.
We got some lovely views of the lake from the top of the crater.
As we continued driving around the lake we thought it was funny seeing cows grazing in lava fields and not lush green paddocks.
We ate dinner in the restaurant at the farm and after dinner we visited the cows in the milking shed.
Another full on day had gone past so quickly, but we certainly did a lot of walking today.

29th August

We were up again early today to get our plan for the day underway. It was only 4 degrees when we set off but the sun was shining and throughout the day the temperature increased to 15 degrees. We headed back past Godafoss so I took a photo to show you what it looked like as we approached.
As we visited it yesterday we went straight past to begin our new adventures. The scenery driving to Akureyri was really pretty.
Just before Akureyri we stopped to take a look at this town. Akureyri is the largest town outside of the greater Reykjavik area and is situated in innermost Eyjafjörður fjord. It is an old trading station and also an important fishing town.
Just outside of Akureyri we had a laugh at what the local kids had been up to. They had painted the hay bales.
As we drove through Akureyri we had an unplanned stop. Can you believe it?
Today was certainly a great day for scenery as we passed through some little villages.
As we headed towards Siglufjörður we had to go through 4 tunnels. The longest was 7km.
We arrived in Siglufjörður which was one of the world’s leading herring ports from the turn of the 19th century until the late 1960’s. Today, it still boasts all the charms of a small fishing village with its colourful old buildings, lively harbour and mountainous fjord setting.
We continued on towards Hofsós with more stunning scenery.
The water and sand made amazing patterns.
We arrived in Hofsós which is a small village on the eastern shore of Skagafjörður fjord. Trading began here in the 1600s making it one of the oldest trading posts in Iceland. The town has some of the oldest buildings in Iceland.
From Hofsós we continued our drive along Skagafjörður which is one of the most historically famous districts in Iceland. Sometimes called the Mecca of horsemanship thanks to its abundance of Icelandic horses. We saw plenty of horses and more scenery along the way.
Our next stop was Glaumbaer. A farmhouse has been situated on this site for nine hundred years, but individual buildings have changed in size and shape. There are some examples of turf houses.
The two timber houses date from the 19th century and are built in the Danish-Icelandic style which succeeded the old turf buildings.
We then decided to head for some hot springs and have a relax for the rest of the afternoon. To get there it was about 40 km from the main road along a dirt road. It was called Grettislaug. The hot spring is located at the sea level in Glerhallavík at Reykjaströnd in Skagafjörður.
We headed to our accommodation for the night. It is in the middle of nowhere and is lovely and quiet. This is the view we have from our window.

30th August

We set our alarm for 1am as it had been a beautiful day and we were hoping that we might see the Northern Lights. It was still early in the season but we felt it was worth a wakeup call. We did see it but it was not very bright and I couldn’t get a good picture. But here is one anyway.
Yesterday I talked about all the horses in this area. Well to our surprise we had horse steak for breakfast. It tasted great. It was sliced nice and thin and was very tender.
After breakfast we headed off and our first stop was at Blönduós which is a small town on the banks of the Blandá River, it has been a trading post in North Iceland since 1875. As a growing commercial fishing base, the Blönduós area is known for the excellent salmon fishing in local rivers and streams. Blönduós is also home to a particularly striking modern church, built in 1993. The clean design is said to have been inspired by the surrounding landscapes.
We have also had a bit of a laugh about their speed signs. I snapped this one as we came through town. It was happy as Shane was driving under the speed limit.
The Vatnsdalur valley is a lush, green area. Dotted around the mouth of the valley are innumerable hills, created by an enormous landslide at the end of the last Ice Age.
Also in Vatnsdalur you will find Þrístapar, the site of the last execution in Iceland in 1830, when a couple were beheaded for arson and murder. We stopped there but there wasn’t much to see after all this time.
We then drove on the Vatnsnes Peninsula. Our first stop was Borgarvirki which is a natural fortress dating from the early years of Icelandic history 870-1030 AD. It is formed by an ancient volcanic plug of columnar basalt and rises 177 metres above sea level.
This is it from a distance, its at the top of the hill.
At Borgarvirki
We continued up the peninsula to an impressive basalt rock stack off the shore. The impressive 15 meter rock formation is said to be a troll who got caught in sunlight on its way to tear down the bells at a nearby convent. It resembles a dragon crouching down to drink from the ocean.
The stack is home to many nesting sea birds, whose guano have stained the rock white giving it its name. Hvítserkur translates to “white shirt.”
Our last stop on the peninsula was at Illugstadir to see the Harbour Seals.
It was also strange to see the sheep on the beach wandering through the seaweed.
We found these rock men, they seem to be everywhere in this part of Iceland.
We then made it to the West Fjords and Hólmavík which is a small village on the Steingrímsfjörður fjord and has been a commercial centre for more than a century. We didn’t stop there but just drove through as we were on a mission to get to Drangsnes which is a small town of just 67 inhabitants. I had read about some hot tubs on the beachfront that are fed from hot springs and we couldn’t miss the chance for another dip. We found them and there weren’t too many people around. This is part of Iceland that a lot of people leave off their list. I can't imagine why.

After feeling rested and extremely relaxed we made our way to our home for the night.

31st August

This morning we made a decision to spend some more time in this area and visit a remote area on an all dirt road. The drive was spectacular as we drove along the ocean and then into mountainous area.
This is some of the scenery along the way.
Our first little settlement was first settled in 1917 when a herring salting factory was opened in the area, Djúpavík is a small town that consists of 7 houses, a hotel and the ruins of the factory that spurred its creation, along with the wreck of a ship. The settlement has waxed and waned in accordance with the herring stock in the area, and was effectively abandoned in 1954.
We finally made it to Norðurfjörður. This cove with its hamlet of the same name, is situated in Árneshreppur, Iceland’s least populous municipality. Largely unoccupied, the big draw of Norðurfjörður is Krossneslaug, a great outdoor swimming pool on the pebble beach at Krossnes. Natural springs provide a continuous source of hot water feeding the pool. See what you think.
We then headed back the same way. This is what the car looked like after with quite a proud Shane.
We then headed further into the West Fjords. Photo’s just don’t do this place justice. We wound our way around the fjords, we had lovely weather to enjoy it. Every now and then we had a sun shower with many rainbows.
We came across some more Harbour Seals, we sat and watched them for quite a while.
There was also a lot of bird life.
We visited the Arctic Fox Centre in Súðavík which is a non-profit research and exhibition centre dedicated to educating the public about the incredible arctic fox and to conservation and research efforts relating to the species. The Westfjords region is home to the largest population of arctic fox in Iceland and a portion of this region is also designated a nature reserve where the hunting of arctic foxes is banned, helping the population to flourish. There were two young foxes there who cannot be released into the wild.
We finally made it into Ísafjörður which is the largest settlement in the West Fjords This is our home for the next two nights.

1st September
We decided to have a little sleep in this morning. Not much only an extra hour. After breakfast we headed off to have a look around Ísafjörður. It is not a big town but it was interesting to have a look around. In the oldest part of town, Neðstikaupstaður, there are four of the oldest houses in all of Iceland. Most of the houses in this area are now protected and date from 1757-1784.
We then went to Jonsgardur park where there was an arch made out of the jaw-bones of a beached blue whale.
We found this lovely sculpture to honour the fishermen.
Shane got caught in their net.
We then headed out of town to visit Bolungarvik. It has a population of almost 900. It is the second largest town in the area. Before arriving on the outskirts of town we drove through a 5km tunnel.
We visited the avalanche walls which are a huge construction that protects the village during winter. We got a lovely view of town.
We then headed up to Bolafjall. It is a majestic mountain standing 638 metres tall and has a beautiful view point. It was a pretty hair raising drive up the mountain.
Even at the top they were warning people as the wind could be quite strong.
We could see all the way over to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, the stunning fjord and the adjacent Traðarhorn mountain, towering above Bolungarvík.
Shane wanted to play in some ice.
This is Bolungarvik on the way back.
We passed back through Bolungarvik and visited the Osholaviti lighthouse.
We then went to the Osvor Museum. In the old Icelandic society there were no towns or villages; the people lived on farms in the countryside. Fishing was, however, important and it was most often done during autumn and winter, while there was a low season in the countryside. Then, farmers and their labourers would migrate from their farms to the fishing stations by the sea, where they spent several weeks living in small huts, fishing every day from their small and open rowing boats. This fishing station has been lovingly restored, its highlight is a replica of a six-man rowing boat, among the oldest of its kind in the country. The museum features a salt house, fish sheds and a fish drying area.
Another view across the fjord.
We had some time so we also went and visited the towns of Sudavik and Flateyri. To get to these towns we had to go through some more long tunnels. Infact the turn off to Sudavik was actually in the tunnel. It was quite strange.
As you came out of the tunnel on the way to Sudavik this is some of the views that you had.
Heading back to the tunnel.
Just out of Flateyri there were fish drying racks.
Flateyri also had avalanche walls as they had an avalanche some years ago that killed people so the Icelandic government ensured that towns in avalanche areas had walls built.
We headed back through the tunnels, another day of spectacular scenery was over.

2nd September
We headed out today and the weather was overcast but otherwise good, however as soon as we exited the 6km tunnel the other side of the mountain was low cloud and drizzle. This was going to be a setback as we had hoped to have good weather to see the Dýrafjörður fjord. The large fjord is a whopping 32 km long and is dotted with many picturesque areas including the Alps of the Westfjords, so-named because the mountains in the area stand out as some of the only in the area that aren’t flat-topped. Oh well, you can’t have good weather always. Just before our first stop the cloud cleared and we had sight of a pretty mountain.
Our first major attraction for the day was Dynjandi (also known as Fjallfoss). It is a series of waterfalls that have a cumulative height of 100 metres cascading into the fjord below. At the top, the waterfall is roughly 30 meters wide and stretches to 60 meters at the bottom, where it divides into a series of smaller falls. This is one of the first views we had of it.
When we arrived the sun came out and we had a rainbow.
Each waterfall had a name and the main fall is Dynjandi.
We then headed up over the mountains again and got a pretty good view of the fjord before the cloud came down again.
After a beautiful drive we arrived at Arnarfjordur. This was the first sign we saw on the roadside.
This area is well known for sea monsters. In fact they even have a museum.
We went into the museum to see if we could find the answer as to if there is a giant, serpent-like creature swimming in the sea. In the museum they relay eye-witness accounts by generations of local fishermen. It was quite interesting hearing their stories. We even saw a couple of the monsters in the museum.
As nature and art go hand-in-hand in the West Fjords region we decided to take another dirt road with a scenic drive along the secluded Arnarfjörður fjord to Selárdalur. It certainly was scenic.
Our mission was to find the Samúel Jónsson Art Farm. This is where farmer Samúel Jónsson lived out his retirement years cultivating a life-long interest in art. Having had no formal training, the genre of Samúel’s work can be described as naive, with a childlike and almost cartoonish quality.
Among the notable works here are a statue of Leif the Lucky
The “Court of Lions”
Other animals
The museum he built for his art
There’s also a small chapel that—according to a local lore—was built to house an altar piece Samúel had made for the local church, after the church rejected it.
Of course there were lots of sheep on the road again today. Shane couldn’t resist this sheep, he had two black eyes.
Our next stop was a favourite spot for bird-lovers, Látrabjarg cliff, they lie at the westernmost point of Europe. It is the biggest sea-cliff in Iceland, at 14 km long and up to 441 meters high, and one of the most crowded bird cliffs in the world. In the summertime, Látrabjarg comes alive with around one million birds. It was the wrong time of year to see all the birds, but it was still pretty.
Our final stop for the day was Rauðisandur, or “Red Sands,” it is named for the unique golden-red colour of the sand beach in the Látrabjarg area of the southern West Fjords.
Our home for the night was a town called Patreksfjordur, on the way back we saw a boat on the shore. It is the oldest steel ship in Iceland. It was built in Norway in 1912 and was beached there in 1981.

3rd September

This morning we set the alarm for 2am as we thought we might have another go at seeing the northern lights. The alarm went off and we almost stayed in bed but forced ourselves up and this proved to be a good decision as we had clear skies and could see the lights even better than the first time. We also got better at the photos.
A few days ago we decided that we would cancel our ferry trip across Breidafjordur. This was going to be a 3 hour trip on the ferry and we had enjoyed the scenery so much that we decided we would drive around instead.
Shortly after leaving our hotel we came across this statue. We could not read Icelandic so could not tell but thought his worth a photo.
There were lots more sheep on the road today.
Breiðafjörður is one of Iceland’s largest bays. It is a shallow body of water separating southern Iceland and the rugged Westfjords. It is bordered in the north by the Westfjords peninsula and by the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the south. In addition to being surrounded by stunning mountain ranges, the 50km wide bay is dotted by roughly 3,000 islands, islets and skerries. Breiðafjörður bay is fascinating from a geological perspective, with its northern edge dating back at least 15 million years and its southern shore being half that age.
Well the decision to drive ended up being a great decision too. The sun was shining and the scenery was once again spectacular. It was also different from what we had already seen.
We could even see Snæfellsjökull volcano across the bay.
We finally arrived on the Snæfellsnes peninsula and could see many of the little islands.
The scenery continued to surprise us.
Our first stop was Stykkishólmur which is often called the capital of Snaefellsnes and is a fishing and trading centre with an excellent natural harbour. Stykkishólmur is famous for its historic houses. We had a drive around town but I didn’t take any more photos of old coloured houses.
Just outside of Stykkishólmur stands Helgafell or the ‘Holy Mountain.’ Though the mountain is just 73 metres tall, it appears significant due to its surroundings being almost entirely flat.
A hike to the top of the mountain provides sweeping views over Breiðafjörður Bay.
We then headed for Kirkjufell ‘Church Mountain’ which is just outside Grundarfjordur. It is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. It is about 400m in height. There is a waterfall nearby which is nearly always photographed with the mountain.
We continued further and the scenery changed again. The mountains became stark.
We visited the little village of Arnarstapi which is a small fishing village at the foot of Mt Stapafell. Here we found a representation of the guardian spirit Bardur.
On the last part of our Greenland blog we showed you the mountain that we would finally get to during our trip around Iceland. Well we finally made it there. Infact this is the view from our hotel window.
It is called the Snæfellsjökull volcano, regarded as one of the symbols of Iceland. With its height of 1446 m, it is the highest mountain on the peninsula and has a glacier at its peak. The volcano can be seen on clear days from Reykjavik, a distance of about 120 km. The mountain is also known as the setting of the novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne. (that got Shane excited).
Our next two nights are spent in Hellnar, which is a little village. We walked down to the beach and located a spectacular rock formation called Valasnös, which reaches across the ocean front and into the sea.

4th September
Today we had the day to explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Snæfellsjökull National Park which encompasses a large area of Snæfellsnes Peninsula’s western tip. The weather wasn't very good today, it was overcast with showers throughout the day. But we did not let this stop us. Snæfellsjökull National Park is Iceland’s oldest national park, named for the area’s most prominent attraction the volcano I mentioned yesterday.
The National Park includes many stunning landforms surrounding the volcano, such as:
The Djúpalónssandur pebble beach, this is on the southern edge of Snæfellsjökull glacier. It is a black sandy beach that was once home to one of the peninsula’s largest fishing villages, but is now uninhabited.
The beach is scattered with the rusted wreckage of the fishing trawler Epine, which met its fate in 1948.
To walk down to the beach, you walk through parts of a twisted lava field.
This is why they call it a pebble beach.
One kilometre west of Djúpalónssandur is Dritvík cove, an enclosed bay where two cliffs jut out from the shore to create a natural landing spot for the many fishing vessels that once frequented the area. Just up from the shore in this area are the ruins of huts where some 400 men and women would stay when working for the fisheries.
The Saxhóll volcanic crater, this crater erupted 3-4000 years ago.
The crater rises 109m above sea level. We walked to the top to see inside it.
There were also other craters nearby.
The two massive lava formations at Lóndrangar, these protrude from the coast on the southern edge of the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Even in the other direction the cliffs went on for miles.
There were still quite a few birds at the cliff
Here is Shane playing David Attenborough.
Right nearby is the lighthouse at Malarrif
Rauðfeldargjá, the “hidden waterfall”. One you get to the side of the mountain you enter a narrow entrance.
This was the view of the ocean from the entrance.
At the westernmost tip of Snæfellsnes, we went along a tiny gravel track which took us across an ancient lava flow to the Öndverðarnes peninsula. As the road wound through charcoal lava cliffs we stopped at Skarðsvík, a golden beach with basalt cubes alongside. A Viking grave was discovered here in the 1960s and it’s easy to understand why this stunning spot would have been a favoured final resting place.
We continued on to the dramatic Svörtuloft bird cliffs and a tall, orange lighthouse. Usually behind the lighthouse you would see the volcano, but not today.
On the way back to the hotel we also stopped in at Budir. This is a small hamlet in the Budahraun lava fields. There is a black church near the beach.
We also stopped at this lookout to see the expanse of the lava field.
Our final stop was back at Arnarstapi to walk along the cliffs to see the rock formations.
We stopped for fish and chips before heading back to the hotel.

5th September
We decided to set the alarm for 6am and get up to see if you could see the volcano seeing it was so cloudy yesterday. To our surprise it was not covered in any cloud at all. It had a pink tinge on the snow from the sunrise.
Seeing it looked so good we decided to take a drive back to the lighthouse to see if we could get the shot with the volcano in the background, and we did.
It was good timing as within 5 minutes of taking the photo it was covered in cloud. On the way back to the main road I spotted this bird.
We headed back to the hotel for breakfast before our last day on the road.
Our first stop was Gerduberg which was a belt of basalt columns. Gerduberg's lava flowed in the Tertier era. The columns are 14 metres at their highest and around 1-1,5 metres wide. Gerduberg is listed as a natural heritage. It was pretty impressive.
We then spotted the Eldborg crater which rises 60 m above the surrounding lava field. Eldborg (The Fire Castle) is located along a short fissure that is thought to have been active 5000-8000 years.
We were then headed for our last waterfalls for this trip. Before we arrived we had a great view of Langjokull glacier which is the second-largest glacier in Iceland, at 935 km2.
We also visited the largest hot spring in Europe and probably the most voluminous natural hot spring in the world called Deildartunguhver. The heat coming off the water was incredible, not to mention the amount of water bubbling in high spouts. Photo’s don’t do it justice.
We then arrived at Hraunfossar waterfall (meaning “lava falls”). The 900m long strand of trickling cascades was lovely and the overall colour of the landscape was stunning. Surrounding the cascade is Hallmundarhraun lava fields, a desolate stretch of black lava overrun by a vivid green moss. The water comes out from the lava. I thought it was up there for waterfalls this trip.
Just up from these falls was Barnafoss. It is a series of rapids urgently escaping the craggy clutches of the Hvita River.
We then started our way back to Reykjavik. The scenery changed again.
We made one last stop at Fossatún which is a settlement located on the banks of the river Grímsá in Borgarfjörður. We found a troll garden where marked paths are highlighted by pictures and stories of trolls in the area.
We made it back to Reykjavik mid-afternoon. It was a bit of a culture shock with all the traffic around as we had not seen too much over the last couple of weeks. We dropped the car off and made our way to the hotel. We did our last bit of souvenir shopping and repacked our bags ready for our flight tomorrow.

Posted by shaneandnicola 11:44 Archived in Iceland

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