Today has been one of the best days of the trip, at least in my opinion! I’m not sure whether because I’m really enjoying the place we’re staying or because I’m finally on Icelandic time. But, in all likelihood its because I just downed a beer and I’m a tad tipsy.
We started out this morning by filling up the car in Egilsstadir and then took to the ring road. This mornings drive was similar to yesterday afternoons – through the mountains. We drove past snowcapped peaks under blue skies while listening to the musical stylings of Gwen Stefani, Missy Elliot and the one and only R. Kelly (we can thank spotify for that!). We noticed a few places to stop along the way and take pictures but we didn’t feel the view was actually that good so we kept on trucking. As we were driving, it started to get incredibly windy but we didn’t think too much of it until we made our first picture stop. As soon as I opened the door the wind took it and when I stepped out of the car it looked like I was wearing parachute pants! We took a few pictures and when we were back on the road I grabbed my GoPro (which I’ve lazily kept in my bag the last few days). We made another stop to admire the view and before we knew it we were at Dettifoss – the first stop of the day.
While we were driving to Dettifoss (the most powerful waterfall in Europe) the skies turned against us and it started to rain. It was the first rain we’ve had on the trip so we didn’t mind at all. Until, we noticed the wipers on the car weren’t the greatest (and we got out of the car and walked a little). The hike to Dettifoss was one of the more interesting ones we’ve done. Even though it was short, it was covered in snow and ice! We shouldn’t have been too surprised by this but we were. What surprised us more was the choice of footwear by some of our fellow hikers. While most of them were wearing hiking shoes, a fair amount were wearing RUNNING SHOES. Like any smart Canadian, I know not to wear running shoes in the snow (unless I want to get sick). I do understand that they are easy to pack but in the planning stages of the trip you should realize that most of the stuff to do here is outdoors and there are better shoe options out there.
We were soon at Selfoss, a smaller waterfall on the way to Dettifoss but this one was my favourite. I think it was because we were able to see the base of the falls that I enjoyed it more. This really helped to put the waterfall in scale and we realized just how massive it is. I feel that I would have been more wowed by Dettifoss and how big it was had we been able to hike down more (but alas this was closed due to snow and ice). After cursory pictures we left Selfoss and were at Dettifoss quite soon there after. This waterfall is the largest in Europe and is a testament to the sheer forces of Nature. Even though we couldn’t see it all we were still amazed by it and felt absolutely minuscule in comparison.
Hiking back through the rain, we didn’t get too too wet as we were well protected but felt for the people that didn’t plan accordingly. Back in the car, we turned Beyoncé on loud and set our sights on the Nature Baths in Myvatn (where I don’t have pictures as my dSLR isn’t the biggest fan of water). On our way, we mistook a different site for the nature baths. This turned out to be the Hverarond Geothermal Area. Driving through the area we noticed a faint smell of Sulfur but weren’t too worried about it. We had been to Geysir and lived to tell the tale – but this would prove to be a different story. As soon as we open the door of the car we were overwhelmed by the smell. This one was a tad different from the one at Geysir as it wasn’t just Sulphurous – it was a combination of a dirty diaper and pickled eggs. Something that our stomachs (and noses weren’t the biggest fan of).
We persevered through the smell and saw some incredible Geothermal vents and mud hot pots. The gurgling of the Mud Hot Pots was similar to how our stomachs felt at the time – absolutely topsy turvy. I’d like to say I have a pretty strong stomach and nothing really bothers it but this was pretty close to a horrible ending for me.
Once we decided we were done we made our way back to the car (which still smells like sulphur) and made our way to the Nature Baths. These are similar to those at the Blue Lagoon (near Reykjavik) but different in the fact that they are truly natural – and a tad cheaper. Newly used to the smell, we changed, showered like the icelanders do (naked) and were soon enjoying the warmth of the pools.
We relaxed in the pools for about 2 hours, thoroughly killing our hair and skin but it was well worth it. The pools were so relaxing and we recovered from the last couple tedious days. We ended up grabbing a bite to eat there and I had Skyr and Geothermal Bread with Smoked Salmon – yum!
All nice and relaxed we set our sights on the nights hotel – Tungulending Guesthouse near Husavik. Now, this is where we had a little bit of fun. Not only did the pavement road turn into a gravel road halfway through (it luckily switched back) but Google Maps had lied to us in regards to its location. Luckily, we had SIM cards and Data and found our way pretty quickly to the road it was on. As soon as we turned off the highway we were on a steep gravel road down to the ocean – yikes! Daylan was an absolute driving champ and made it like a charm.
As we checked in we were immediately enthralled with the place. Its seaside location is amazing and you can see huge mountains across the fjord! The place itself is absolutely charming and very nordic chic in design. We both love it and wish we could stay longer! After ditching our bags, Daylan decided it was time for me to teach her how to use a camera and I happily obliged! You can check out her handiwork at daysdreamings.wordpress.com ! We went outside and shot photos for about 45 minutes before decided it was time for dinner (and a beer)!
This brings us to now, full on Kjötsupa (Icelandic Lamb Soup with Veggies and Pasta) and a Local Organic Ale I set out to edit pictures and write today’s blog!
Aaron’s Note: I just want to say thank you to everyone for your support as I make the transition to full on travel blog! It means a lot to me to see how well received it is.