We stocked up on groceries at the big Bónus in Akureyri. I was excited to explore the sleepy fishing village that is actually the second biggest city in Iceland. We headed to the church first, the one that is the sister church to Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik, and has some similar unique architecture. Afterward, we walked around a little on a little rocky outcropping by the fjord and admired the colors of the city, but were soon deterred by wind. We got on the road sooner than planned and headed for Myvatn.
According to our Iceland book that I read aloud to Ted as we drove, “Myvatn is the undisputed gem of Iceland’s northeast,” because there is so much to see in a relatively small area. By the time we got to our first stop, I was feeling cranky about eating yet another meal of bread and cheese off my lap in the car while Julian climbed around and spilled everything. Also overwhelmed by how much there was to see and not wanting to rush through it just to check it off our list.
Our first stop, Hofdi, was an island where we could hike around and get a good view of Lake Myvatn. Ted insisted on setting up our tripod for a family picture on a little precipice and it blew right over the side and started tumbling down the cliff to the rocky lake. Luckily, it caught on some grass and I was able to reach down and grab it.
Iceland has some santa claus-like figures called the yule lads.There are thirteen of them and they have names like “bowl-licker” and “doorway sniffer” and “sausage-swiper” and “stubby” and are rumored to live at our next stop-Dimmuborgir. It is lava field full of amazing formations that almost look like ruins from some ancient city. Near the entrance there was a cave that looked pretty cool and we started hiking up to it until I saw some clothes strewn about and got freaked out that there was a bum living in the cave. Ted started cracking up because he realized that it was a scene set up to look like one of the yule lads was camping out in the cave. They fooled me good. We decided that Julian should be called sausage-swiper from here on out. The hike was a loop around the lava field and on the way back we decided to take the “challenging” route. It took us through underground archways and was all around really cool.
Next we drove down the road that goes around Lake Myvatn a little bit farther and hiked to two caves. The first one had a treacherous entrance and was full of toxic water so we just peeked in and continued on to the next cave, Grjotagja. This one was way cool. You scramble down something that looks like a rockslide into this cave opening and the bottom is all full of hot water and rocks to jump around on. I dipped my toes in the hot springs that was just a little too much for comfortable bathing while Ted explored the dark corners.
(^^with Thjis, our northern lights buddy from the night before^^)
That night we stayed at a farm in a remote valley north of Myvatn with a really nice big farming family. We had spaghetti for dinner, but this time we had broccoli which was like gold after having nothing green for three days. Julian was so happy to wander around with the farm dogs. We got to bed early that night after our tiring day.