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  • Writer's pictureMark Lewis

Iceland Full Circle - Part 4 (The North)

Our journey continued through Iceland due north to Myvatn, an area with active volcanic activity. Susanna pulled out the trusty paper map which was now getting a bit worn and off we went.

Photos of the Northern Lights…Not Quite

We reached our hotel by sunset and upon check in we were notified that the northern lights may appear later that night and were asked if we wanted to get a wake-up call. Of course we did. At around midnight the phone rang. We sprang up with excitement and hurried out as fast as we could. I had my camera and tripod but was unprepared; it was so damn cold that night I couldn’t get my act together. I fumbled through setting up the camera and tripod and by this time my fingers were freezing. Though the northern lights were present they were faint but it was still magical to see. I took a few photos but wasn’t sure if any were good. They weren’t, it was a total bust photographically but I’m glad I got the chance to witness it nonetheless.

Craters, Volcanic Rocks and Geothermal Baths

The next day we set out to see the crater in Krafla and hiked all the way around and followed that up with a hike through a landscape dotted with boiling geothermal pools and active lava rocks. The landscape contains astonishingly diverse geologic features in a small area.

What’s a trip to Iceland if you don’t do the geo-thermal baths. They are all over Iceland and we heard a lot about them and had to try it out. While in Myvatn we went to the Myvatn Nature Bath. It didn’t disappoint. There were two big baths which were interconnected and each one had different sections with some areas hotter than others. We stayed in for about an hour and upon exiting I felt rejuvenated. I didn’t take my camera into the bath but I did have my iPhone and I snapped a few pics.

We left the nature baths and decided to get some lunch. Susanna navigated us to the Vogafjos cafe. It’s been around since the 1890s and is also a working farm. The food was good and the wait staff were all pleasant. Rested and fed we decided to head to the Hverfjall crater.

When Plans Change

The drive to Hverfjall crater is on an unpaved road. On our way there we had to move to the right as another car was coming in the opposite direction and we hit what we thought was a big pot hole. We kept driving but I looked at the tire pressure gauge and noticed after a few seconds that we started to lose tire pressure on the front right tire. We bailed out and needed to find the nearest gas station. Paper map down, phone GPS on! Susanna navigated us to the nearest gas station. Neither one of us knew how to change a flat (we don’t own a car and live in NYC) so we searched around the parking lot to find some help.

We came upon an RV with blasting techno / house music and I knocked on the window and asked for their help. Out came two young Turkish guys who were the nicest people. Ali helped me to change the flat and we chatted up about how they were college students traveling around Europe for some time as it wasn’t the best time to be in Turkey. Once the flat was fixed I tried to pay them but they politely declined, even when I offered them beer. We were / are forever grateful for their assistance.

We needed to get the main tire fixed as the replacement tire was what we call a donut; it was just a small replacement and we wouldn’t be able to keep that on the car for the rest of the trip and drive at the same pace. There was only one mechanic in town, Karl Vidar, and he was gone for the day. We called him and he instructed us to drop off our tire at his shop and he said he would look at it the following morning. The next day we got to his shop and met Karl. He was very pleasant and he showed us our old tire; I saw that puncture and thought…this can’t be good! Karl confirmed that it could not be fixed but he rolled out a brand new spare. My man Karl! He told us that we were very lucky and that he had only had one in stock.

We gladly paid Karl for the new tire and his services. We bid our farewell to him and Myvatn and got back on the road. Our next few stops in the northeast included the Godafoss waterfall, passing through Iceland’s second largest city of Akureyri, more white knuckle driving through one lane 6 kilometer long tunnels to the former fishing village of Siglufjordur to ultimately reach our destination of Saudarkrokur.

Godafoss Waterfall

On our way to Akureyri

On our way to and at Siglufjordur

The last Iceland blog post will round out the trip through Northwest Iceland. To access that blog post, click here.

You can see more of my Iceland photos in the Scapes section of my site.


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