Iceland – Meeting on Another Planet VIII
I wake up at 7.20 a.m. in a shock. I burst out of sleeping bag heading to washroom. Fortunately, I remembered the time of departure. It is an hour later so when I get it back together I start preparing for the departure. The weather is not very good today, it is a bit foggy.
17. 8. 2013
Mývatn, Dimmuborgir, Reykjahlíð, Grótagjá, Víti crater, Leirhnjúkur
The first stop is quite grim. The name of this place is Dimmuborgir (Dark Castles). It is a extensive area with many unusually shaped lava fields. You can find there many volcanic caves and rock formations. One of the most popular tourist destination (even though it is hard to assess it really when you walk wrapped in raincoat and it is constantly raining). This picturesque are awas formed by lava that leaked out more than two thousand years ago from the craters of Lúdentsborgir and Þrengslaborgir. There are many possible trails yet taking in mind the things said above we chose short walk to the Kirkjan cave, kirkjan meaning a church. After a short tour, we head back to the parking lode. The Icelanders believe that the place swarms with trolls and elves who live in the castles. It is a pity we did not encounter any.
We have to refill our supplies again. To do this is suitable the town of Reykjahlíð. Many tourists head this way in the high season. They go around the lake of Mývatn. This town of 300 people has the church as the man landmark there. In 1729, there was a massive explosion of the nerby volcano of sopky Krafla. Massive lava stream stopped right in front of the church. Many believe that prayers were responsible for the miracle. Interesting lava tongues line the church until the present. They are evidence of the things that happened there.
We bought everything so we are able to continue in our route for today. We are about to see Grótagjá – the most well-known flooded rifts. A friend, who was on Iceland couple of years ago, said we could swim in thermal lakes at the bottom of the rift. Two lakes were used to be accessible for tourists. A lake for women had water of 44 °C and a lake for men of 48 °C. Today there is a warning sign saying that the cave is accessible at one’s own peril. Walls crumble and pieces of rock are falling in the lakes. We hope that we will be successful elsewhere.
Ahead is a hike around the Hell – yes, this is the English translation of the name for Viti crater that is filled with emerald water. One is amazed by this color. A trail goes around the crater so you can view it from all angles. The views are wonderful. You will also see steaming airholes from which hot air will blow on you. Or there are sulfide fields that are interesting for their color and look. Some fight the temptation to take bit of sulfur with them. They do not realize that if they put it into the pocket the only result would be a burned-through pocket or destroyed clothes in worse case.
We continue on. Today we really saw some spectacular views and nature. We move to the opposite summit. This time we will visit a colorful rhyolite mountain. You will learn more next time …
Text and photo: Magdaléna Radostová
Dyrhólaey is a peninsula on the south of the country. It is also a natural reservation. There are many rocky cliffs of various shapes. The cliffs are favored by maritime birds such as puffin, duck, or murre. Beaches of black lava sand fill the area between the rocks.
We leave the camp. We have to pack the tents, sleeping bags, and foam mats to be ready to carry on.
I think that I can call this day the most beautiful on Iceland. Beautiful weather only enhanced my experience on that day. It was beautiful from the very morning until the night. Sun shone, it was warm, cloudless sky, and great visibility.
The night was freezing yet beautiful. In the morning, sun is shining and it seems it will be the last one we enjoy on the island.
After a long time we slept in we woke at 9:30. Night was peaceful only one thing was unpleasant, that is air temperature in couchettes which was more than 30 degrees Celsius. It is not optimal given the combination of air temperature on the deck – too hot in the cabins, too cold outside.
The following two days we are going to spend on a ship and have the last stope at Ejer Bavnehøj, Denmark, where is a tower open whole year.
If you intend to visi a beautiful country that is different from the Czech Republic but you don’t want to travel to another continent Iceland could be your choice. The country is near the polar circle and it is the westernmost European country. It charms everybody. It is mostly for its nature which are rare on the European continent.
We were travelling around the island to get to know it better. We set off to the east from Reykjavik. First we are headed to Þingvellir park (Thingvellir). The park is listed in UNESCO’s world heritage program.
I really recommend you to travel to the southeast if you happen to be around Hveragerði. There is the lava cave of Raufarholshellir near the road No 39 and you reach it after about fifteen minutes of drive.
In this part of our series we take a look at island’s north and east. In the east, there are fishermen’s villages along the road number 1. The atmosphere here is very peaceful. It took us a long time to bypass eastern fjords. We were disoriented because everything looks so similar here and there also was thick white fog. One shouldn’t take this lightly.
Next part of our travels starts on the north of the island. It is at Eyjafjördur fjord, the place where the second largest city on Iceland is located – Akureyri. It is a nice city, rich, and full of students. It is really worth seeing. However, our long drive to Vatnsnes peninsula was not very impressive.
Alarm at 7 o’clock. Leaving camp an hour later. Originally, we had to stay over night on the Vestman Islands. But it would have taken us much more time. We would use it much better – at the farm of Skálakot.
The journey goes according to the plan. We go to the waterfall of Seljalandsfoss near which is the camp. There the drivers were supposed to be accommodated. Upon a short break in the camp, we go further to the harbor. It is raining cats and dogs, and wind blows strongly. Soon we learn that the trip to the island has been postponed due to large waves.
Today, not really pleasant weather starts today. It is raining cats and dogs here. One cannot see in this dense rain, so our plans from the previous day are hard to realize. The departure is postponed. Yet we still are going to get on the top of the highest waterfall on Iceland.
Thanks to the feeling of omnipresent danger, the island lures travellers. It is located in the most volcanically active region in the world. It really has lots to offer: monumental glaciers, bubbling thermal springs, majestic falls, colorful lava fields covered with heath, and many other things. It is only a glimpse of what lures people here from all over the world.
Sun greets us in the morning. Very unusual here… perhaps you have already forgotten how many sunny days there are on these island. I remember it so I appreciate the nice weather more.
I get up at 6 already. Yesterday I forget to charge my equipment so I have to do it now. More of us had the same idea. I still ponder whether to participate in hike or not. Eventually together with drivers and other great group that we will have a rest day today.
Morning, sun wakes us up and the sky is clear! Great! Other travelers arrived in the night - six new participants.
The night was quiet. It doesn’t rain in the morning so we have a quick breakfast, pack our tents, and set off to the Kotagil gorge after 8 a.m.
"Working" with the elves worked out pretty well. We have a nice sunny day, although it is bit cold. Skútustaðir is one of the few towns at Mývatn lake. Our goal is a walk near pseudocraters. Local name for these strange hills, about twenty of them, is skútustaðagígar.
We moved to the rhyolite hill on the opposite side. It is what remained of Leirhnjúkur crater. The land is really strange yet beautiful.
Alarm at 7,30. We have to leave cabins until 8,30. As always, I bought a good book guide and read it. In introduction, there was: “Despite you can travel by boat, we recommend it only to experienced sailors with tough stomachs. Gale is strong on the route as well as storms and waves of the Atlantic."
Our stay on the Faroe Islands is getting shorter. It is the best time to visit the capital of Tórshavn and explore it thoroughly.
We continue through Kvivik, a small village, to the northernmost city of this island, Tjornuvik.
The night was absolutely calm. Living in couchettes is not the most pleasant thing, but one can manage. We were very lucky because of the weather, the sea was absolutely calm and we could have our calm sleep…
Selfoss is only a small stop on the route around the island. Nevertheless, main spine of this small town is formed with most important Iceland road No. 1, enabling to drive round Iceland (despite the fact that the road is changing to gravelled way in remote parts of the country).
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