Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From rain to ashes

We enjoyed one sunny day at Goðafoss, getting blown away by the huge mass of flowing water that created a deafening sound.

View from the left bank of Skjálfandafljót river
Those people must have walked on these islands to have the best view of the waterfall

View from the right bank

The Mývatn area for sure has a stunning beauty. We hiked on the south bank of the lake next to some pseudocraters and on the north bank on a vast fields of ropy lava. With a little help from French tourists we got to Hverir - "the biggest cesspit of Iceland;" a geothermal area with solphatares and steaming hot muds. We also hiked a nearby mountain, following a well-marked yet very steep trail. Almost 3 hours at a swimming pool was a good postscript to the sunny and exhausting day. Nothing suggested that we wouldn't be able to catch a wink at night because of the strong wind. Stroke of luck that our tent survived that! The following day was even worse. 3 hours of trying to catch a ride to Akureyri were futile. Just local traffic and some tourist going only to a nearby attraction, Dimmuborgir. But how can you enjoy hiking when you're soaking all over! For the first time we caught a bus, 3400 ISK but it spared us getting more wet and, moreover, the value of food we got from the dumpsters was a few times higher than the price of the ticket, so there's some consolation.

Pseudocraters at Skútustadir

Ropy lava

Less jagged lava

Reykjahlíð, the village amidst lava fields


The weather never pampered us in Iceland... We ran away again, this time all the way to Reykjavík. It's always good to be back there, because of meeting our great host Marty and because of more skips to find some treasures.

More food found!

Glittering art at Hverfisgata

Sunset seen from Perlan, at midnight

Our mansion

But staying in one place for too long is not our thing! We headed south, into the mist and volcanic ash. First we saw Seljalandsfoss, a picturesque waterfall that you can walk behind and get wet. It looks totally different when seen from front and behind. At first you see a huge mass of water but when you walk behind it it seems like multitude of trickles falling into the pool and occasionally sprinkling the surrounding mosses. Moreover, the sound the falling water creates is thunderous.

Heading to Skógar meant entering the ashy zone. You can see the ash from Eyjafjallajökull eruption on the ground (we even camped on it in a forest on the "outskirts" of Skógar) and ash from Grímsvötn (still in the air, which looks like rain, but when you look at it from a hill, you see the horizon is quite blurry and the air right above it is darker. The ash is slowly settling down.

Skógar seen from Road 1

Skógafoss and a trail leading to the top

Another waterfall on the Skóga River

Skógafoss and the ash

Next to our tent. Ash from last year's eruption

Stealing some wifi in the middle of nowhere

We hitchhiked further south to Dyrhólaey and Vík í Mýrdal with two Parisians, one of whom had lived in Iceland for two years before. Because of weather (as always) we had to escape and we escaped to the capital. Direct ride, the first one that we paid for (when we reached Reykjavík the driver asked us if it's ok to share the cost of gas, and we gave her 1000 ISK), and we're back home, welcomed by Marty. We didn't have much time to share about our camping experience, since he was preparing for his trip, but even I such circumstances it was good to reunite. Moreover, sleeping in a warm and dry place was something we yearned for after 1,5 of sleeping in a tent, in the sun and sleet. Usually, we used to wake up in the middle of the night and think it was late morning. This time, in a place without even a dim light, we slept until 8 in the morning and thought we still had plenty of hours of sleep...

Intriguing lava formations at Dyrhólaey and 3 travelmates

Vík í Mýrdal

Reynisdrangar in Vík

Reynisdrangar from another perspective
Back in Reykjavík

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