The next stop was to learn more about glaciers. Skaftafell Visitor Centre was super informative, full of exhibitions and volcanic displays. It’s where we learnt about the volcanoes that lie sleeping under most of Iceland’s glaciers. When they blow, there’s the added risk of flash floods from all that ice being blasted by hellish levels of heat and lava. Bridges and roads being washed away are not uncommon. Eyjafjallajökull which erupted in 2010 and caused havoc all over Europe with the ash cloud was one such volcano/glacier. While Europe worried about airline disruptions, the skies above Iceland were clear but the fissures appeared in the ground, the area was evacuated and roads closed.
As well as all the learning, there are loads of well marked hiking trails starting from the visitor centre. A lot are either closed by October, or not suitable for those without proper gear, like us but there was a short route down to the glacier tongue.
I love the geothermal hot springs in Iceland. I found the glaciers even more captivating.
It was an adventure to reach our first glacial lake. We almost missed the small turnoff from Route 1 into Heinabergsjokull in the Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður. About half way along we realised we probably didn’t have vehicle robust enough to deal with the track. Lots of gravel, lots of mud, reasonably deep puddles. Not seeing any other vehicles also made us question our decision. Nevertheless we persisted.
With no other human activity around glacial lake that seemed to rise out of the mist of the morning light was magical and quite ghostly.
We had come to expect stunning waterfalls from the Icelandic landscape but still weren’t prepared for quite how amazing the ‘foss’ in and around the Myvatn area are. We weren’t planning the detour off the Ring road but in the end we followed the advice of anti-clockwise travellers and headed off Route 1 to Detifoss. It was well worth the detour.
Myvatn is yet another ‘must see’ of Icleand. Julie and I had been very much looking forward to visiting, after seeing pictures, reading and listening to other traveller’s stories. The area is full of remnants of volcanic activity, birdlife, and active geothermal sites.
Our first win was that it really was a short drive from our ‘campsite’ at Godafoss. The area of Myvatn with most of the sights is also fairly small so it’s easy to explore this diverse part of Iceland in a day or so.
The first stop was the Dimmuborgir lava fields. These were so different from the lava fields at Beserkersville. The rocks formed really cool shapes, reminding me of the Dark Crystal. Continue reading
From Route 1 to Kicks on Route 76
Having a campervan and wanting to see as much as possible of Iceland in a week means a lot of driving. Julie and I had put in a lot of kilometres since Reykjavik and the Golden Circle so we’d planned a shorter drive after our pony trek, hoping to arrive in our next stop of Akureyri before dinner time (a first on this trip). However, we were persuaded by the talk from the folk at Hestasport to take the time to explore the peninsula on the way. Being told it was one of the best drives in Iceland and that we’d pass through the fishing village which is the setting of an Icelandic TV show Julie was watching, Trapped, convinced us.