It was an absolute complete change in views as we headed out of the eastern shoreline of Iceland and into the northern region. The towering green seaside cliffs, the crashing blue ocean waves, and the colorful little towns quickly faded into… rock. Yup, endless views of rock and more rock, and a whole lot of brown color. Geothermal and volcanic activity gives the north a moon-like feel with lava fields, boiling mud pits, steaming vents and craters scattered around the area. The day ended with a long soak at Lake Myvatn Nature Bath’s. We chose not to do the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, mainly because it’s expensive and on everyone’s to-do list in Iceland, so we enjoyed the nature bath instead. It was still pretty crowded in the late afternoon but that didn’t affect our experience there.
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Follow the rocks and end up at a ferocious fall known as Dettifoss. I’ve read that this waterfall is the most powerful waterfall in Europe! If this is true, I can see why. The sheer volume and power of the falls is A-mazing! 400 cubic meters of milky-grey waters thunder over the edge every second creating a spray plume that can be seen 1km away! As if it wasn’t already beautiful enough, a double rainbow made an appearance.
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Steaming vents and craters await at Krafla, an active volcanic region. Krafla is the name now used for the entire area as well as a geothermal power station.
Its most impressive attraction is the Leirhnjukur crater and its solfataras. The Earth’s crust here is extremely thin and in places the ground is ferociously hot. So I did not stray from the path as I walked some of this trail to see sulfurous-encrusted grounds, steaming vents, and bubbling mud pots.
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Hverir is a landscape that people refer to as “Mars-like” with its mud cauldrons, steaming vents, radiant mineral deposits, and rocky area.
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A small lava cave near Lake Myvatn with a thermal spring inside has skyrocketed in popularity thanks to the recent Game of Thrones love scene that was shot here. In the early 18th century, the outlaw Jón Markússon lived there at Grjotagja Cave, and it later was used by locals as a hot spring in the following decades until the 1970’s. From 1975 to 1984, the Krafla volcanic system erupted 9 times resulting in the water’s cave to boil and make it unusable. The temperature has since cooled, but it is known to heat rapidly so swimming here is not allowed anymore. Regardless, it wouldn’t be a very peaceful place to soak anymore with the never-ending crowds and tiny space. If you can squeeze through the dauntingly small and dangerous entrance crevice you’ll find a very mystical-like cave.
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!