It was another perfect weather day. After breakfast, our plan was to head to Myvatn lake and spend as much time there as possible, however, we just could not resist the temptation of the heavenly like scene in front of us. It just takes your breath away simply by standing at the wharf watching the pristine water, the crystal clear sky and the snowy mountains across the fjords.
It was already 9am when we finally started today’s trip. We took route 87 to visit the Dettifoss waterfall via Myvatn so we could enter the waterfall from its south entrance. After yesterday’s experience, today we put aside the Big Map and decided to follow the Map of Iceland.
We arrived at Reykjahlid, a small town of only 300 residents in the Lake Myvatn region, for petrol and tourist information of the region. From experience in the past few days, we found it necessary to ask the information centre for road conditions at the start of the day. Staff in the centre gave us the latest road information and a valuable must-see list. Temporary road closure is not uncommon in Iceland. While you can obtain the latest road information via the government website, talking to a real person who has inspected the road the day before makes a big difference.
We bought a prepaid petrol card valued at ISK5000 and filled up the tank. The card can be topped up and used again in another station of the same company. In Iceland, many gas stations are run by nobody so a prepaid petrol card makes perfect sense. Using a credit card is another alternative as long as you know Icelandic because the display on the screen is written in Icelandic. So far we have noticed that petrol price is quite consistent across the country.
5 mins from Reykjahlid, we made a short visit to Hverir, just off route1, a geothermal active area where you see steams coming out from piles of rocks, fumaroles and bubbling mud pools. The place was already packed with tourists. It’s the first time in this trip we saw so many tourists, needless to say, this is possibly one of the best attractions in the country. Here you can feel the heat and smell of sulphur when the wind blows the stream to you. The landscape and the colour of the land are completely different from what we have seen before. It was like we have landed on the moon! We planned to spend 30 mins in this place, but at the end took us an hour. We would have climbed up the little hill to have an overview of the site, had we not been pressed by time! This is a magical place we highly recommend to anyone.
We continued our drive along the “The Diamond Ring”‘ a circular route that links Husavik and some scenic places nearby, including Dettifoss, which is accessible also via route 864 and 862 from both south and north during summer, but for today the only road open was route 862. The road beyond the waterfall was closed. The drive was enjoyable, with once again breathtaking views all the way. The road is paved and wide enough for two tour buses running side by side. By the time we arrived, there were already cars and tour buses parking there. The waterfall is about 1km from the car park. The walking path was still fully covered by snow so we had to walk carefully following the marks.
It was very warm today, mostly 16C to 18C, although most of the area was still covered by snow. The clothes we prepared for this trip were almost extravagant. Walking on the snow ground toward Dettifoss, you could feel the warmth and the strong light reflection from the snow. Later we were told it would take another week or two for the snow to completely melt away.
Dettifoss is 45m high and 100m wide and it is the largest in Iceland in terms of water volume. Upstream is another waterfall called Selfoss and the waterfall downstream is called Hafragilsfoss. Because of weather conditions the road and the walking trail to Hafragilsfoss was closed. Watching these waterfalls at a close range are truly magnificent.
On our way back we visited the crater lake Viti ( while the lake was still frozen, the soil we walked on was warm), lava rocks in Kalfastrandarland Area and Hofol and the pseudo craters in Skutustadagigar. The Myvatn lake region is full of wonders of nature. The rapid changing landscape is so dramatic that a short 30 minutes drive can take you from the volcanos in Hawaii to the highlands in Tibet! The variety and contrast of landscape was astonishing! It was too bad that we could not spend another day or two here.
In the evening we had our dinner (at 9pm) in a famous local restaurant by the wharf. We ordered the catch of the day. It was so much better than the one we had the previous night recommended by the hotel staff! In the months between June and August the restaurant is open until 10pm. In winter, the restaurant is closed for business!
Our room was located in the new wing of the hotel. But the facilities are quite basic, not to mention about the services. Today we returned to our room to find that the towels we used have not been replaced. We were not sure whether it was due to the low season of travel, many of the hotel staff did not seem to be well trained. Anyway, after a long day’s journey, all we needed was a hot bath and a sound sleep.
That ended our eighth day travel in Iceland.