Lake Myvatn, Iceland, Europe
We saw some of the most beautiful scenery of our trip so far today. We left the Gerdi Guesthouse early this morning and headed east. We made a stop in Hofn to look at the view (which wasn’t spectacular), and went to a grocery store to pick up more snacks for the drive. We managed to find some sandwiches that were already made as well, which made for a great picnic on some rocks. We stayed there for a while enjoying the great view and relaxing.
I was really surprised by the size of the island today, due to my own ignorance. I had an idea of how long it was going to take to drive around this island before I came, but for some reason it seems a lot bigger than I was expecting. We are driving along the coast, and every time we turn a corner and I expect to start driving north instead of east, we see that the road stretches east as far as we could see. It was really beautiful though, so I wasn’t disappointed, just surprised.
We had to drive up through some mountains that were covered in snow, which was crazy because for the last two days the only snow we had seen was on the glacier. Route 1 changed to a dirt road for a pretty long stretch, and it made me really happy that I had paid the extra for the insurance that covered gravel damage to the car. If we didn’t have the insurance I would have been driving 15 miles per hour and every little ping of a rock off the body of the car would have thrown a dollar sign up in my head. But since I didn’t care, we kept a steady speed of about 45mph and made decent time on the way to Detifoss.
After the dirt road ended, we were in the middle of the mountains and there was snow as far as we could see. It was wild. There were no structures to be seen, and just the one road, so it felt so isolated and strange, it was like we were on another planet. That idea was definitely already in my head because of the fact that we were going to see Detifoss waterfall which was right at the beginning of the movie Prometheus. We had to hike through the snow for about 20 minutes to get from the car park to the waterfall, but when we came over the last ledge and could see the size of this fall, it made it totally worth it. This is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, and it felt like it. There were a couple of viewpoints that we could check out and a couple more that were off limits due to shifting snow. It was very cool to see, and definitely worth the detour from the main road.
After gazing at the falls for a bit, we hiked back to the car and then headed down to Lake Myvatn. We found Dimmuborgir Guesthouse where we will be staying for the night, and it’s very cool. We have a little cabin with a view of a volcanic crater out of our window. On the back side of our cabin is the lake.
We went for dinner at this restaurant not far from the guesthouse called the Cow Shed. It was a Cow Shed. There were a bunch of cows feeding in the barn, and the smell was just horrendous. When you go inside the restaurant, you can’t smell the cows very much, which is very nice, but they had a full glass wall so you could see the cows feeding, while you are eating their cousin. And that’s exactly what I did. I had a beef burger, and it was excellent. Melissa had a traditional Icelandic lamb stew, and it was also very good. It ended up being a pretty expensive meal, but worth it.
We’ve come back to the cabin to relax and look out for the Northern Lights. The people in Lake Myvatn call this the Northern Lights capital of the world. Up until about 11:30pm, we were very disappointed, as we just couldn’t see any lights at all. Then all of a sudden, the faint glowing lights started to show themselves and slowly became stronger, and they were spectacular! We went outside to get the best view of the lights, and they were all around us in 360 degrees. I thought the coolest view was seeing the lights over the volcanic crater outside of our room. I took a few pictures with my camera on a tripod and a one minute exposure. They don’t really do the lights justice, but it’s the best I could do. We were both very excited about how well we could see the lights, because I know it can be hit or miss if you see them at all. This was a great show, and a perfect ending to our day. It’s going to be tough to beat everything we saw today!