Tour of Iceland: Godafoss, Myvatn, Husavik, Jokulsargljufur, Glymur, Blue Lagoon
The final leg of our tour of Iceland saw my travelling companion Big Boy change his fascination with Icelandic horses to an interest in the local sheep. “They have multi-coloured sheep. Black and white.” Well, that’s not exactly multi-coloured, and you only mentioned that when you saw a black sheep didn’t you? Sheep racist.
First stop of the day was the stunning Godafoss waterfall in Fossholl, conveniently located 10 minutes from the road, meaning that we could continue on our way to the beautiful Lake Myvatn without much delay. The lake itself has lush vegetation on one side and largely barren volcanic rock on the other. Weird. The attractive side also has the impressive sites of the Skutustadir pseudo-craters (looking very crater-like to me, but what do I know), towering lava rock formations at Dimmuborgir, and Hverfjall volcano, which we climbed up and into, whilst stumbling over loose rocks and gravel.
Nearby we passed the Leirbotn geo-thermal power station on our way to more steaming sulphur pools at Hverir. How anyone can work in those power stations I don’t know, as they are too bleak for words and it felt like the sulphur was so strong that I could have sworn my eyebrows were singed. Our final stop of the day was another volcano, this time one that was flooded – Krafla’s Viti crater. I asked Big Boy if he fancied rimming and he was up for it. So off we went around the circumference until we approached a part-melted glacier alongside a small muddy stream, with moss on the sides. “We can make that, it’ll be fine” Big Boy confidently said, before his foot sunk through the moss into the mud beneath. “I asked for that.” Yes, you did.
On the return to our guest house in Akureyri, Big Boy developed a fear of trucks, breaking hard every time one approached on perfectly wide roads. But no matter, as the boiling hot showers could treat my developing whiplash injury. That is one thing that I have noticed about Iceland – they don’t do ‘warm’ very well, only freezing cold or boiling hot. We had to sleep with the window open to combat temperatures that could melt mercury.
The next day we rose early and headed to the northerly coastal port of Husavik for a whale watching trip. More accurately, it should have been called whale chasing . We saw two blue whales, or at least the top 10% of them, before they dived down to feed and we haplessly waited around to see where they would surface, before trying to catch them up to ogle some more. I took many photographs. Of the sky. It was impossible to take good ones on the open sea!
After docking we had time to visit the whale museum (naturally) and the less expected phallological museum. Yes, it is a museum crammed full of 276 penises, from the enormous to the microscopic, all carefully organised by a creepy old man. It was weinerful… But the smell was repulsive. No-one needs to experience the smell of old cocks, I promise you.
A couple of hours later, on yet another gravel road, we made it to the horseshoe-shaped lush expanse of Asbyrgi in the unpronounceable Jokulsargljufur national park, and trekked around the paths and up the side for 4 hours. At the southern end of the park, we visited Dettifoss, a waterfall that is apparently Europe’s largest by volume of water. So now you know.
On the return trip to Reykjavik Big Boy developed another irrational fear, this time of low flying birds, so I was quite glad to be at the wheel when we drove through thick fog that gave the landscape a spooky feel. We just had time to experience our toughest trek of the trip, up the largely unmarked ‘path’ to the summit of Glymur waterfall, including a 60 degree climb which just had to be the wrong way, and through the river to descend on the other side, hiking boots squelching out water as we walked. It was the most satisfying end to our visits to natural sights, even if Big Boy did try to kill us by insisting on a detour down a steep part of the mountain, which I refused, leading to us shouting at each other for a while and storming off in different directions, before Big Boy caught me up.
The final two nights in Reykjavik saw me eat guillemot (avoid) and us meet a guy called Orri, who invited us to a garden party for Icelandic musicians, which was a unique experience. His father is a famous musician called Helgi Bjornsson. He also took us to a few bars afterwards. Nice guy, and funny too, as he annoyed Big Boy by saying that he looked Turkish!
On the last day we relaxed at the Blue Lagoon, a naturally geo-thermally heated pool and health complex which is a tourist trap, but had to be done. Upon seeing people with mud on their faces, Big Boy dived down to scoop us some mud and began to smear it over his face… before realising that there were clumps of hair mixed in, much to his repulsion. There were containers at the side full of uncontaminated mud. Funny.
The final night ripped a whole in our budget as we toured the best bars, but on the way we watched a street performer who picked on Big Boy as a volunteer. That just had to happen, didn’t it? He complained that it was distracting that the sunlight was reflecting off Big Boy’s newly shaved head, so he made him hold a ladder whilst assuming compromising positions and made gay innuendo comments. I wish I could have videoed it, but then I was bent double laughing, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to.
This trip was a blast. Iceland is beautiful and we were lucky with the weather. Plus Big Boy was a good travel companion to share a Viking beer or two with. And his bad habits were a constant source of amusement. Thanks buddy!