20.08.2016 - 21.08.2016 18 °C
Breakfast on Saturday included some Havre Crunch to go with the Special Flongor and skyr, which is a surefire way to start the day. We headed off towards Viti and developed a rating system for comparing the views on a scale of i to iceland. We cursed a few of our fellow tourists for deciding to pull out in front of us unnecessarily, and cursed the fact that the temperature had halved since yesterday. But by the time we actually arrived at Viti, the sun was back out and the hats were back on and we may actually need to buy more sunscreen!
Viti greeted us with that familiar sulphur smell that can only mean one thing - geothermal energy. The crater was formed by an eruption in 1734, but on Saturday it was eruption-free and we were able to walk around the rim of the crater and laugh at the people who decided to swim in the icy cold water. And even Belinda enjoyed the hilarious Italian pun written on the back of one of the dirty cars in the carpark - "lava me". It's funny because it means "wash me" AND we were in a volcanic area. Brilliant. We sat by the edge and had totally deluxe sandwiches for lunch (ham and cheese AND mustard) before moving on to Namafjall for some serious moon landscapes, serious sulphur smells and serious steam.
The landscape changed again at Dimmuborgir, a lava field with more trees than we had seen anywhere else in Iceland. The lava had formed various columns and caves - one cave was even inhabited by a troll, who was (thankfully) out when we popped in for a look.
To finish the day off, we decided to walk up Hverfjall, a well preserved circular volcanic crater. It was a long way up but it was worth being 396 metres up for the views. Iceland earned itself a gold star for its diversity and quality of landscapes, and an extra gold star for three days in a row of sunshine.
We stayed the night in Laugar at a B&B, and went out for dinner at the local restaurant/servo/supermarket because that was the only option in town. We ended up with amazing pizzas and 'meat soup', which tasted a lot more appealing that it sounded (essentially chunky lamb and vegetable soup with free refills - perfect on a nink budget). We finished the meal with salted caramel icecream and that was the end of that.
This morning we breakfasted with an Austrian couple and a Dutch couple, and got given a sachet of vegemite by our Icelandic host. Emma will be pleased to hear that I had nutella on waffles, giving the old peanut butter a bit of a break, and I also discovered that pear flavoured skyr is really quite good.
It was a very short drive down the road to Godafoss and Geitafoss, more spectacular waterfalls and more tourist buses. We headed north to get to Husavik, a picturesque town on the coast and the home of whale watching in Iceland. Since we had all had previous whale encounters without paying a squillion dollars, we opted against the whale watching tours and instead went to a place called Fish & Chips which, of course, sold fish and chips. And even the three of us who are not known for our fish eating tendencies ate and enjoyed the fish - winner. We checked out the local church (which didn't need any sprucing up) and wandered the streets soaking up the vibe, before moving on to Akureyri and promptly using the washing facilities to their full potential. We went for an amble around the town, which had a certain Canberran vibe about it. The signs lured us uphill to the 1920s-skyscraper-styled church and then took us onwards to the botanic gardens, a peaceful and beautifully colourful location that seemed a million miles away from the Arctic Circle, instead of just 50 kilometres away.
And then it was time for a raging Sunday night of watching television with Icelandic subtitles - the best way to finish off a weekend.