Iceland's Stunning North.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Visir Guesthouse

Flag of Iceland  ,
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We were on the road by 6.00am from our previous night's stop at Borgannes, with a new plan of where we were going to go, now that we could no longer circle the island. We passed through the most scenic country of steep green hills, fat grazing sheep, waterfalls (some frozen) and ice covered mountains. There were grand fjords reflected in impossibly still deep water and neat little farm houses with big barns.

We stopped in at a tourist office in the quite large and picturesque northern city of Akureyri,and the the ladies were extremely helpful. They told us where we could take a four wheel drive bus tour to Askja, a place we had been hoping to go to, and booked us into a cabin close to the departure point. They marked on a map all the sights we should see in and around the Lake M'yvan area, suggesting we visit before we got to the cabin and then booked us a nights accommodation in the town of Husavik for after the tour.

Visitor Centres information can vary amazingly. We find that quite often they have downright wrong information or no information about things that they should. In many cases when pressed they have never been to the tourist sights around their area. In this case however the visitor centre had come up trumps. What they did tell us too, was that we would be doing the Askja tour under very unusual conditions. Whilst it was the middle of summer, the snow had not yet melted in this area as it usually did and our tour would involve a hike into the Caldera of some 3 kms over snow and ice. Well, we were up to it we said! Our hiking boots are waterproof.

The Lake  M'yvatn area is gorgeously set amongst lava fields, volcanic craters, hot springs, geysers and waterfalls. Here we enjoyed the hot spring baths of vivid whitish blue colour that Iceland is so famous for, and marvelled at more geysers, the stunning crater of Krafla, and the rainbow shrouded water fall at Dettifos.

Our 4 wheel drive bus tour the next day to Askja was long and arduous travel, over windy dirt roads that gradually climbed up towards glacial mountains.The snow was banked up on the sides of the road to almost the bus window height, on the approach to our destination. About 1 klm from the carpark our driver encountered a big hole in the road and we had to start our hike from that place, instead of closer. At first we followed a formed snow path and our waterproof boots did well but we hit a patch of melted snow, and we sank down to mid calf depth and into our boots poored the icy water! With waterlogged boots, wet trousers and icy feet we trudged on and climbed to the edge of the crater. What a spectacular sight and well worth the freezing feet! Below us lay a massive caldera with Iceland's deepest lake inside. Then inside this caldera and lake, lay another crater called Viti, quite newly formed in 1875 when it errupted out of the lake. This "crater lake inside a crater lake" has warm water of the light milky blue colour and contrasts with the main lake which is largely still covered in ice. Avan climbed down into the Viti crater despite his wet feet and enjoyed a closer view.

After the 12 hour bus trip, we got back in our hire care and drove to Husavik, where we found our guest house to be delightful with a beautiful view over the little fishing harbour and what's more it had a laundry included in the price! We enjoyed a much later start the next day, getting our laundry done and our boots dry in the warm sunshine coming through our window, then wandering down to the most unusual museum I think in the world - of penises! Animals and Sea Creatures appendages were displayed en masse and the curator has been collecting them since 1974. Some humans had written letters promising their appendages to the museum on death too - pretty whacky!   

We set off heading back South to Reykjavik where we had decided to base ourselves for the last three nights. Back to our same guest house, the Igdlo, which we had found to be excellent value, well run and conveniently located for catching buses, and returning our hire car. Best of all it had available parking for our hire car.   

Travel Recommendation: Visir Guesthouse (Visir Gistiheimili) in Husavik is an absolute gem. Double room from 12,000 kroner with WIFI and washing facilities. Phone 856-5750 email
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andrewjerome on

Another great entry. I love Iceland.

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