6:27 – Good morning, Iceland! I have to pee so bad.
I ended up pulling over before a side road with seal watching at the end. Figured there wouldn’t be seals at night, and I need gas soon anyway so I slept for several hours (the back seat is getting comfier), and now I dine on ham and cheese sandwiches before heading out to see some seals (hopefully)!
[There were no seals. Nor did I ever see a puffin while here. I also stopped by Akureyri, called the Capital of the North, and apparently, promptly forgot about it. Here are some pictures anyway.]
9:13 – Why did the geese cross the road? To give me a heart attack as I slammed on my brakes to miss them! They say to look out for the sheep here (cause fences are so ten decades ago, and if you hit one, you have to pay for it), but it’s the birds that have a death wish. There’s this small brown one like a sparrow that seems to enjoy playing chicken with cars. They sit on the road until the very last minute, then swoop away right as you are about to hit them. Only they don’t always succeed – I’ve definitely hit a few already. Sorry birds.
10:23 – It’s not finding gas stations or food that’s so hard. It’s finding bathrooms. I tried three different gas stations before I found one! It was lovely to finally brush my teeth though.
12:49 – Godafoss. [That d is supposed to be the Icelandic letter that is pronounced as a th but there’s no way to type it, and everyone seems to pronounce this waterfall GO – duh – foss anyway.] This is stunning. It’s like a baby Niagara Falls. What I can’t get over is how shockingly blue the water is, even when the sky is cloudy. I explored all angles of this waterfall and the river and bridges at the road. I absolutely love the caves. Caves everywhere!
I have images of jumping over one of the cascades and swimming into the caves. And freezing to death. You can go over though – and I am so freaking jealous of the kayakers that were! Glad I was placed at the bottom when they went over for a good shot though.
14:41 – If I had a private heated bathing pool in a cave on my land, I would never be anywhere else. Grjotgja is so cool, even though the tiny space is crawling with tourists (literally – you have to sort of crawl in). It’s the middle of a lovely summer day – you can’t expect less. It seems there’s always someone in a brightly colored coat that just won’t take those two steps to the left to get out of your shot. Ah well. Seriously though, this is awesome. I have a feeling it’s not as hot as the pool I was in yesterday, but I can see why they don’t want people to bath here anymore. That would be a nightmare.
I stopped by Dimmuborgir briefly before this. It has a lot of caves in it and can be a fun place to hike, but my mind and time were focused elsewhere – the Myvatn Baths! Still, I managed to capture several beautiful sights around Lake Myvatn like pseudo-craters and rock formations.
17:30 – I am so refreshed. The Myvatn Nature Baths are just about halfway around the Ring Road – what perfect placement! At half the price of the Blue Lagoon and with far fewer tourists, the baths are the place to be. Frankly, I could probably have been persuaded to pay the price just for the delightful shower I took afterwards. Myvatn is a lot of fun though and very relaxing – heated pools, great views, saunas, hot tubs, and best of all, mineral water in all of it. The air smells slightly of sulfur, and the water is so clouded you can’t see more than an inch or two down, but you can instantly feel it doing great things for your skin. I lazed about for quite a while before hunger spurred me onward.
Now I’m all fresh and clean, I organized the car a bit, had some lunch… dinner… I just eat when I want to. Solo travelers don’t need schedules! And it’s right back to hiking: first a geo-thermal area, then Viti (an extinct volcano), and then I believe the next big thing is Dettifoss. I’m making really good time, considering I haven’t even been rushing.
18:04 – Oh my heavens, that was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. I think I just stepped into the Jurassic Age or something! How is it that yesterday, I was looking at a waterfall plunging between moss-covered cliffs that could easily have been in the jungles of Venezuela, and today, I’m walking across the cracked, dry ground of a strange, otherworldly desert? And they are really only a few hours apart!
I understand the science behind it, but water boiling in the ground will never stop being strangely awesome. It smelled so bad here – not even like sulfur anymore – and the ground is all different colors from the mineral deposits. There are even pits of gray mud bubbling away. This place beats Geysir for creepy awesomeness.
The car smells like farts now, and I was not the one who dealt it.
18:25 – I always feel a little bad when I stare at a glorious sight for a few minutes, snap a couple pictures, and walk away. But dang, Viti is so high up that it is very cold and windy! Besides, I can’t hike everything in four days… not with my leg muscles. So although you can hike all the way around the rim, I was sufficiently stunned by this ex-volcano crater lake from one spot. Imagine falling in there and then trying to get back out…
22:01 – When I finally reached Dettifoss and Selfoss, I was so tired that I almost jumped in the back seat for a nap. But instead, I had a snack, steeled my nerves, and made the hike to both waterfalls. Oddly enough, the walk rejuvenated me! Add an entire bag of sour gummies that I just consumed, and who knows how long I’ll be going. It’s time to crank up Wicked and start belting!
The roads are deserted now. I think this is probably the longest stretch of road with nothing particular to interest a tourist aside from general scenery, and it’s getting late, so everyone has retreated to their hotels and guesthouses and campsites. I’m taking advantage of the solitude to drive in the middle of the road and speed. Yep, sorry, that whole don’t-want-to-go-over-100 thing has quickly faded, and now I’ve decided 120 is when it starts feeling too fast. I need to look up what the equivalent is…
It’s still quite bright outside. The weather has been fabulous, and today was very clear, so I expect it won’t get very dark tonight at all. You need rain to get a proper – though still short – night.
22:49 – And just when I was thinking there wasn’t much to see: waterfall! I don’t know if this one has a name, but I will refer to it as Contraband Waterfall, because there was a fence and gate around it which I may possibly have climbed over to get closer. Of course, the tourists I met on my way back proved how easy it was to open the gate and walk through like a normal human being, but I was never much of one for doing things the easy way.