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Iceland -The North, Land of Fire & Ice, Part 4

- By Shounak Mondal   .   May 27, 2018   .   

Iceland - March 2018

Our journey continued to the absolutely breathtaking northern Iceland. We would drive about 270 kms from Eglistadir to Akureyri. On the way, are stunning waterfalls, lava fields, caves and volcanoes.

 

These beautiful cottages was our home for three days in Akureyri. We reached in the evening and the plan was that we would be driving in the reverse direction the next day to cover all that we missed.

 

The landscape of vast fields of snow all around as we drove. This was also where we experienced the coldest weather in our entire trip. At -10 Degrees, it was difficult to fly the drone not only because the batteries wont work well but because I could not keep my hands bare for more than 2 minutes.

 

The Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in entire Europe. Its water is fueled by the Vatnajökull glacier. The area takes quite sometime to visit as there are multiple angles from which you can see Dettifoss. Further there is a long walk to another cascade further upstream called Selfoss. The snow was slippery and again crampons are highly recommended. A slip into the Dettifoss from the cliffs would mean instant death.

 

A snow covered caldera of an extinct volcano near Krafla  lava fields. 

 

The lava fields of Krafla was a long walk so instead of visiting the lava fields, we chose to visit Námafjall - which was also a lava field gushing hot steam and bubbling hot surphuric water through hundreds of vents. 

 

We drove along to the nearby Hverfjall volcano which has a diameter of 1 km. This volcano errupted two thousands years back.

 

The Krafla area has several unique features. This is a small cave called Grjótagjá cave. It has clear blue waters and was a swimming destination a few years back. But the water temperature rose and now its about 50 degree celcius making it unfit for swimming. However, a brave couple was swimming in this hot water. 

 

We reached Mývatn Nature Baths. Weather was perfect, bright and sunny although the temperature was about 2 degrees below zero. 

 

It was a true warm feeling to take a dip into the hot geyser water. The few seconds between getting out of the showers inside the compound and hitting the warm water is excruciating and feels like a very long time as we run shiverring in sub zero temperatures. And then suddenly, body warms from minus to a warm 40 degrees inside the water. The water feels a bit slimy as its loaded with sulphur but it sure felt comfortable. 

 

The blue waters of the nearby lake which feeds the nature bath.

 

The magnificent Goðafoss waterfall on the way to Akureri. Drones are banned in most places in Iceland. This was one of the few where I could fly and take a bird's eye view of the powerful casacade.

 

We continued on ring road before taking a detour off towards Hvitserkur. The road is very bad and therefore we had to drive about 20 kilometers very slowly. Finally, we reached the beach and cliff at Hvitserkur. A short walk from the parking lot brought us to this peculiar rock formation. As per the legend, this is the body of a Troll ( A mythical and dangerous creature ) drinking water which froze in sunlight.

 

Our drive continued across beautiful landscapes. We stopped by at some places like the one above to spend some time enjoying and experiencing these vistas.

 

Finally, we arrived at our destination at the small town of Hólmavík.The weather change here was really drastic - one minute bright and sunny and the next minute blizzard like snowstorms ! It was here that we realised that our plan of visiting the west fjords would have to be cancelled as all roads in the west fjords were closed due to bad weather. So it would be spending a night in Hólmavík and then driving towards the Brjánslækur ferry to take a boat that would take us to the South of Iceland.

 

Our entire road trip of around 3000 Kms around Iceland 

 

 

Written By Shounak Mondal

Lives in Hong Kong. Avid traveler ( 30+ countries and counting ), amateur photographer and writer Discovers purpose and meaning in life through travel.

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Shounak Mondal

Lives in Hong Kong. Avid traveler ( 30+ countries and counting ), amateur photographer and writer Discovers purpose and meaning in life through travel.

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