Day 8, 9 – From mud to natural baths and a ‘low way’ to Dettifoss

  • Post by Daniele & Ira
  • Jul 13, 2018
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We woke up at 7 officially, in reality we left our van after 9.30, ashamed and with the consciousness that if we paid for breakfast we would have wasted the money, since this was served until 10 o’clock. We had our usual healthy breakfast, consisting of oatmeal with banana and Nutica (a local surrogate of Nutella…) and several slices of bread and…Nutica, again. img The main stop in the morning was Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, cool stuff, sure. We set our navigator, we say goodbye to the little goat that uses to hangout in the campsite, and we depart toward this majestic waterfall. The GPS navigator at some point was suggesting to go straight for 10Km, but a traffic signal was suggesting to turn right instead to Dettifoss. Obviously, we trusted the local signal, since the map on the GPS might be wrong or outdated sometimes. Well, the waterfall was 28.5Km away from this turn, and the first 500m went really well. The rest 28Km were a mixture of desert, gravel, stones and just tank mines were missing to make the track less passable. Despite the limit of 80Km/h, we rarely passed the 25Km/h and we were not the slowest. It took 1h15m to make the longest 28Km of our lives, with the consciousness that we will have to travel them back one by one. When we reached the ‘parking’ near the waterfall, we left the car and went finding a good spot from which we could take some photos, and we noticed people on the other side of the river that departs from this huge 100m wide waterfall. img Probably those are the smart people who reached the other side by another road, most likely paved, while we were in hell. The waterfall is actually very beautiful, and it sits on top of a canyon carved by the river, while the water sprays reach hundreds of meters away. The view is really stunning, but in our mind there was mostly the terror of coming back. Once we were satisfied of our pictures and we realized we could not get a helicopter to bring us home, we head back to the parking lot, when we started noticing the first group of people changing a tire to their car. This was the first of 4 cars that we alone noticed during our way which broke a tire, 3 more we encountered on the way, while we were making our prayers not to be the next one.

Somehow we managed to make the way back in 1h15m and once we kissed the concrete of the paved road we reached, we set our direction to Myvatn lake, around which several landmarks stand. The first stop has been to a campsite nearby that turned out to be the most expensive and the one with less services so far, not a bad record. We cooked our lunch and then we drove to Hverir. This is a valley in which there are literally pots of boiling muds. We read the principles that cause this phenomena, but we don’t remember, so if you are interested just Google. img Anyway, you realize to be close to this place from about 1Km, when the strong smell of socks after a football game starts soaking the air. This is due to sulphates freed from this steam vents that lay on the ground. We walked around the area, paying close attention to the marked paths, both to protect the environment and because the ground can be easily 100C hot. The mud boiling is really similar to gray paint, which is really really cool, while the whole surrounding is scattered with yellow-ish stripes on the ground blowing steam all over the place. It really looks like walking on Tatooine, considering that just few hundreds of meters from here green grass and plants grow around the lake and several rivers. By the time we came back to the car and planned a bit what to do next, it was dinner time, so we went back to the meh camping, we attempted to eat in the kitchen tent that was overcrowded, and we ended up eating in our car. In the meanwhile, when we turned on the park heater, the car started making a very weird smoke, which let us believe that something got damaged on the terrible road we made in the morning underneath the car. We can survive in our sleeping bags without heater, so we will just carry on. Once we had the saddest dinner of all times, we went to bed and set the alarm early again, just for fun.

We woke up again late, around 9, with the plan to visit the remaining attractions around the Myvatn lake, so after breakfast, we headed right away to Krafla, where we first learned about the Icelandic energy plant that produces electricity from geothermal activity, and then we walked around the crater left after a volcanic eruption that happened not so long ago. img

We hiked on this desert-like mountain, surrounded by lava fields and whose craters are filled with blue water, and then we jumped again in the car. The next attraction planned was simply to drive around the Myvatn lake, whose surroundings are filled with coloured fields, moss-covered lava fields and the like. img

During our circle, we read from the guide that here several scenes of Game of Thrones were shot. In one of these lava fields, Ygritte was luring Jon Snow to the cave, while the cave itself is an attraction we could visit! Once this information was in our possess, we headed straight to this Grotagja cave. img The location itself is beautiful, once a bathing place, a volcanic eruption transformed the environment and now a tunnel in the rocks covers a cave of deep blue water which is naturally heated at about 46C. Here Jon and Ygritte ‘consumed’, despite the fact that the waterfall on their backs has been added with some movie trick, as it has been the yellow light. Apart from this, the cave is really amazing with or without the GoT bit, although this makes it more fascinating for sure. After the cave, we were hungry and we decided to stop for a quality meal. We went to Deddi’s Pizza, a totally authentic pizza place, that had a smell of fried stuff that will take 15 years to get rid of. Apart from this, here we could charge our laptop and we also had two Marga(he)rita that were american-style but decent. As soon as we left the restaurant, we headed to the main attraction of the day: Myvatn natural baths. img This is a place that is similar to the famous Blue Lagoon, and is a complex with several natural swimming pools of natural hot water. We paid the entrance (41.50 Euro each, if you are curious) and we soaked for hours in the warm and the warmer pools, both of which had a beautiful view on lava fields and mountains. At least 1h has been spent trying to figure out how to get out. The water is around 35C, while outside the temperature was around 16C with wind. The swim anyway was really relaxing and we spent several hours there, before getting out, running to the dress room, taking a final shower and heading once again to the van. img From here, we head to the nearest camping in Husavik, a city bigger than the average city where we stayed, to have dinner and spend the night. The reason why we are here is that today we also booked a tour for tomorrow: whale watching and puffin tour! So, now it’s time to go to bed because tomorrow at 9 sharp we need to be at the dock to jump on an old style boat, from which we hope to see some ocean’s giants! We will tell you all about it tomorrow (hopefully), but our expectations are very high! Have a nice night and we hope to meet you again tomorrow with some good news! img