Day Six, one to truly remember
If we knew in advance what this day had in store for us, the excitement and anticipation would have been too much to bear.
No sooner we were back on the peaceful Ring Road after fueling up at Egilsstaðir, and we were pulling over for our first two viewpoints of the day, a snow-filled gorge and Rjukandi Waterfall.
In this eastern part of Iceland, the snow is a lot thicker than what we’ve experienced so far on this trip. However, today the sun has broken through, and I wish I’d brought my sunnies.
A useful guide to Iceland
If you're tempted to tour the Land of Fire and Ice and would love to discover the whole country, then take a look at this DK Eyewitness book. This Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide is invaluable, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.
You can now grab the revised copy.
Gary only let me drive…
On most our road trips Gary does all the driving, but on a rare occasion, he’ll let me get behind the wheel. I think it’s because he wanted to take over the controls of the DJI Osmo. But a least I can say I have driven in Iceland.
Take your time
Unable to resist this incredible view, we pull into the lookout point and step out and just soak it up.
We weren’t too sure when we headed to Iceland whether Dettifoss and Selfoss waterfalls were going to be accessible, as the roads in this area are sometimes impassable throughout the winter months.
We were in luck the 862 was open; however, I believe the 864 to the east side was closed.
It’s a little bit of a hike to the waterfalls, mainly as the snow & ice was quite thick in places. However, it was certainly worth it, the view is incredible. Dettifoss is reputed to be the fastest flowing waterfall in Europe.
While visiting Dettifoss, you must also take the short hike to Selfoss which is further along the gorge. Not quite getting the same kudos as Dettifoss, but equally impressive.
Heading back down the 862 to pick up the Ring Road, we’ve still got more to see. Our next stop is Námafjall Hverir a geothermal area. I love these places; as they are so different, you really feel like you could be on Mars.
Although, the sulfur smell I could do without, but I suppose that just adds to the unusual environment.
We’re surrounded by bubbling mud pots & baths, gases surging from the earth’s crust and a striking landscape, which is decidedly lacking in vegetation – no surprise there.
Back in the car and briefly along the route 1, we then head along the 860 to Grjótagjá cave. I didn’t really know what to expect here, (not being a Game of Thrones fan) perhaps a walk-in cave?
A few good ideas for your Icelandic trip
Here's a few things we picked up ahead of our trip to make things a little smoother for us.
From the low tech traditional foldout paper map, a cigarette USB charger, and a USB chargeable torch.
All simple stuff that may be helpful on your travels.
Tour of Lake Myvatn
Before heading to our hotel, which is at the north end of Lake Myvatn, we decide to circumnavigate the lake. What we didn’t expect to see was Hverfjall, an incredible crater which erupted around 2,500 years ago.
Continuing around the lake, we pass by areas which are still frozen from the winter months, and others where rivers are gushing from it. It is so peaceful and there is hardly anybody about.
They came out to play
Just when we thought the day couldn’t get any better.
We had been keeping track every day on our trip, of the likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights. Arriving at our hotel I asked where the ideal place would be to go that evening to catch them, and the receptionist told us just to wander out the back of the hotel.
I initially didn’t believe her, so at around 9pm we stepped outside, and the Aurora Borealis was just starting to dance. We couldn’t believe it, we ran back to our room, got togged up and headed out into the moonlight.
We were greeted with a fantastic display of, green, pink, purple & white waves dancing across the sky, fading in and out. I didn’t know where to look; they were all around us, I was actually getting a bit choked up, I didn’t expect us to be so lucky.
It lasted about 10 minutes, we hung around for another couple of hours, and they faintly came out again but not too strong.
The route that we took today was mainly touring the Ring Road, but with a few detours and stops along the way. So, in total, our journey was about 270km (167 miles) and with all the stops took us about 7 1/2 hours.
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Where we stayed
For the one night, we were based in Reykjahlíð; we stayed at the Fosshotel Myvatn. The hotel was fantastic, we had a lake view from our room, and the meal we had that evening was lovely, made with local produce.
Highlight of the Day
Every trip Gary and I go on, whether it’s a mini-break near or far or a road trip we chose a ‘Highlight of the Day’, here they are for day 6.
Janis; Mmmmm, now let me think carefully, it has to be the once in a lifetime experience of seeing the Northern Lights
Gary; It has to be the Northern Lights for me too - we'd hoped, and we'd got lucky.
Inspired to visit Eastern Iceland?
Tour the snowy landscape of eastern Iceland and visit gurgling mud pools at Námafjall Hverir.
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