I didn’t have time in the last 2 days to update, as we were doing a lot of driving. We knew that last two days will be tough. It’s a long distance from the north back to Reykjavik. We also wanted stop and places and explore as well as stay up late one night and hunt for the northern lights. But from the beginning…
The night as Lake Myvatn was cold. I actually slept real well though. Upon waking up I climbed the hill behind us. The view from the site is really cool. It it overrlooks the village and the lake. You can see our car and tents in the foreground.
The campsite had a little indoors kitchen (well, more like some benches with tables, 4 gas cookers and an electric kettle) – all of it made a nice change and we were fed with our standard combo of boild eggs and frankfurters pretty quickly.
The best part of the morning was that the weather forecast was very good. We were in for double digits temperature (low teens were goos enough for me) and clear sky. This called for some little hiking . We quickly identified couple of small (up to 1-2h walk) peaks in the area and moved on.
First target was hust around the corner – Hverfjall looks like an extinct volcano crater. It’s really cool looking. There is a path up on one side and you get to walk in a circle around the rim. The whole thing takes around an hour. Views were amazing and clear sky and full sun added to the experience.
From there, some 7km west, past the lake, we stopped by another hill 500ish m tall Vindbelgiarfjall. This was definetly more challanging as the climb is steep (nothing dramatic though, reasonably fot person will go up in some 45mins) steep and diverse.
The biggest challange are lake flies (we call them midges) that just swarms around you as soon as you get out of the car. This is also true for the entire region and probably main reason why picked the campsite up the hill (rather the more obvious lakeside one).
The hike starts with a path from the car park, then you go up through different types of vegetations (follow trail markers) and the rocky parts (moonlike surface) untill you reach grassy top for a rewarding views of the entire region.
You come back the same way and it shouldn’t take more than 2hours round trip.
It was definetly one of the best ways yet, mainly due to the weather. It made all the difference.
From there we wantes to so as much driving west (but still staying on the north part of the country) so we could try hunt for the northern lights.
We briefly stopped at Goðafoss (well it was a full on hour including a shopping spree I wasnt told about!).
The forecast for the north was very favourable, showing clear skies and solid 5 in 9 points scale. This is truly rare for that early in a year (the aurora season doesnt properly start until October).
After driving 200km west (mind you that its on single lane road with 90km/h limit so I takes bearly 3h) and some deliberations regarding campsite to stay ( we visited 2) we settles on the one in Blonduos. It’s kind of near the road so noise is an issue, but if you go way at the back there is a nice waterfall that you can pitch by, and it will kill the road noise.
We met there couple of Americans from Charlotte (go Bobcats!) and North Carolina who were on their way to Spain (wow airlines allow up to 7 days layover. Just enough time for a quick trip around Iceland). They run out of gas for their stove mid cooking, so I let them use my Kelly Kettle. Solid fuel FTW!!! There will be a separate post later regarding all the gear we used.
At 11pm we geared up with more layets and drove 5mins out of the town for dark and clear skies.
It took 90 mins wait, but it finally showed up. Aurora was wa really faint and you had to adjust eyesight for the darkness to see anything but it was there. It only was properly seen when I took them long exposure shots with Patrycja’s 50mm (Ill upload them once we get them of the camera).
Generally spekaing what you see on the photos of the northern lights is not what your eyes see.
Then following morning we didnt get up untill well after 9. The weather gor back to normal Icelanding self – overcast and cold. The plan was simple – drive to Reykjavik witg a little detour stopover at Hnarffossar and Barnafoss.
GPS predicted solid 3.5h on the road so we topped up the fuel and moved on. It is generally a good idea to top up fuel everytime you got a chance as petrol stations aren’t that common and they very often are unattended and automated.
We made it a rule to start looking around when the fuel gauge would show 1/2 full. It worked great. (and no, you won’t be ‘fine’ you every Irish person I know;)
The two just mentioned waterfalls are quite close to the capital and right next to each other but suffer from what I call ‘the coach syndrome’. Buses with tones of tourists stop by on regular intervals polluting the sights with masses of people taking photos with their ipads (its still a thing).
The place has a nice back story. The forst one is relatively new – supposedly formed around 800 AD and just a very long stretch of water pouring of cold lava field .
Barnafoss (meanig Children’s Falls) story is below. Its rather tragic but i guess its part of life…
Before going to the guest house in Keflavik (small town outisde of Reykjavik that hosts the InternationalAirport) where we were meant to spend the last night before departure (6.20am flight) we made a brief stop at the capital city in search for some souvenirs and dinner. We settled for Italian place serving icelanding food cooked italian way. It was reasonably priced (tuna stake dish on rice for some 20 euro) and very delicious.
I got to give a shoutout to our hosts at Ace guesthouse. Their place (houses actually, we got nice 2 bed brand new house for ourselves) was spotlles. It had big bathroom and we could use commu al kitchen in their main house (we didnt though).
They even let us extend the car rental (for a very small fee) to the next morning and just park it at the airports long term car park.
They were vey friendly family run business and priced their sevices at reasonable rates. I highly recommend if you are looking for airport side accomodation (they have couple of houses 5mins from the airport) and car rental services (around 40 cars to choose from, inclusing small converted campervans, 4x4s big and small as well as regular compacts.
Im writting most of it waiting for our luggage at dublin airport; someone at DAA fcked up today. First they meased up queues at imigration sending couple hundred USA passangers to Eu booths and the reversing them and mixxing with EU folk causing havok.
Now the luggage belt is clogged witv bags from Milan and Copenhagen (without Reykjavik displayed on it, but yet it had one of hour bags).
Its after 12 now. The flight was 2h delayed, it took another 2 in air. Now we wasted over an hour at this point waiting to get out to the car park…. Bags 1 of 3 retrieved…