Iceland – Meeting on Another Planet X
"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.
18. 8. 2013
Mývatn, Skútustaðir, Goðafoss, Akureyri, Lystigarður Akureyrar
How do the pseudocraters appear? A friend of mine told me, so here is what he said: a volcano spits out lava which flows down to some water surface, lake, or marsh, and then it explodes. The explosion creates a hole in a hill, and now there is the pseudocrater. Pseudocraters are nice brown-green hill which would look better from up above. You can go through there only by following designed road. Birds have their nests on fragile basalt surface so we better do not disturb them.
Goðafoss – the fall of gods on the Skjálfandafljót River. It is certainly one of the most beautiful falls on Iceland yet I was disappointed a bit. Many tourists came there as the weather was truly amazing. About 10 buses parked there so the place looked like an amusement park. Still Goðafoss was magical. Water streams glittered the sun light, and we managed to get at some deserted places.
What follows is the trip to Iceland’s second largest city – Akureyri. We have about 4 hours to see the city thoroughly. We park near an infocenter. We visit it to get some information and a map which will help us to navigate. First, we want to see the Akureyrarkirkja church, the main landmark in the city. The church was built in 1940. Its most interesting part are painted glass windows which imitate original windows at the cathedral in Coventry that was bombed and destroyed during the second world war. We are not lucky for the church is closed. It opens at 18 o’clock, the time when we have to leave.
What I am looking forward the most is the Lystigarður Akureyrar botanical garden. It is the northernmost botanical garden in Europe. It is the oldest on Iceland. It is at the highest point in the town and covers an area of 4 hectares. The botanical garden tries to keep as many original Icelandic plants as possible and it also holds a collection of foreign plants that wouldn’t otherwise withstand the weather conditions on the island. Many of the plants there are usually from arctic or in the north temperate zone. Some plants come from world’s highest mountain ranges.
In the 1960s, the garden received plants from Greenland, Norway, and the Alps. Later, many new plants came from Scandinavia, Canada, and the Alps. In the 1990s, the garden expanded. New building covers Icelandic flora. You can see the plants from coastal areas, arctic lawn, snow areas, and lava fields, marshlands, spring areas, and lakes. I explored this great place with “gardener” Peter who was able to identify many plants, and tell me some interesting stuff about them.
We are going back to the city to buy some souvenirs, drinks some coffee and eat a pie, and than we return to the parking lot. There we have a delicious goulash.
This night we spend in nature. We will sleep bivouac above a wild river with sheep around us. Upon our arrival we have to build a tent quickly as possible. It is starting to rain.
In the morning, we are going to see a waterfall and a 18th-century open air museum.
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.
People who love winter should be pleased by the following article. This time we take you to world’s largest island. And it name is bit paradoxical. However, in the native language of Greenland it is called Kalaallit Nunaat meanin the land of people.
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.
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.
We moved to the rhyolite hill on the opposite side. It is what remained of Leirhnjúkur crater. The land is really strange yet beautiful.
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.
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…
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Photo: Jakub Štantejský