I can’t believe it.
The sun is ACTUALLY out, the sky is actually BLUE and we have f i n a l l y turned off the heating in the van, for the first time. (For the moment.)
Honestly, this country just gets better and better. We’ve walked about a thousand miles, be it black sand beaches, airplane wrecks or waterfalls taking our fancy, and we’ve driven about the same – currently headed towards the famed yet sparsely populated, or travelled, westfjordlands, having driven the east coast in its entirety over the past few days. We’ve hiked for hours up and down extinct volcano craters, through steaming fields of ancient lava, to the edges of stunning falls; we’ve bathed in geothermal hot springs (although it was about 5 degrees out and raining sooo… Not as terribly glamorous as it sounds I guess).
Lake Mývatn is an area inland of northern Iceland, known for its extensive – and recent – volcanic past; back in 1994 a series of major and minor eruptions meant that shit got pretty crazy in the area, resulting in a landscape which I can only describe as alien – the ground is black with ash, huge crevasses splitting the rock in two all over the place. Steam rises from any orifice it can find in any formation and you can actually see how the lava was flowing before it cooled – incredible shapes like nothing we’ve seen before.
It looks like the kind of place where dragons or trolls (both?) would make their home.
We covered some serious distance yesterday in the van, driving through the most beautiful valleys – so vast for a relatively small country. We camped at Blonduos, a small town on the coast, where skies were said to be clear for the night (it’s not particularly likely we’ll see the Northern Lights at this time of year, but I’ma set an alarm for 3am anyways). Iceland is a camping enthusiast’s dream – being surrounded by glaciers mean both chilled and unlimited drinking/cooking water, and a shit load of geothermal activity going on down below = hot showers every day. Beauty.
This morning we hiked down to say hello to Iceland’s resident rhino, the Hervitserkur, and took a few gravel roads to get a good look at the coast whilst the weather permits us to do so without freezing to death; we took a bloody lovely, long walk along one of the island’s world-famous black sand beaches and made friends with one of the many seal colonies chilling on the shore. We drove up and around the Vatsnes Peninsula and had our first run in with some Icelandic traffic cops – by which I mean a group of some very curious, very friendly wild Icelandic horses. After inspecting the car thoroughly – from the inside no less – they sent us on our way. Terrified of horses as I am, I must admit that the ponies here are damn pretty and ridiculously friendly… I only squealed a few times.
So, to the Westfjords we go… Few tourists come up this far and we’ve yet to see another car – just a shit load of “traffic cops”.