Magu Bee at World's End

A travel blog of one crazy Magu Bee traveling the globe.

Lake Myvatn area is a volcanic zone located on the boundary of two tectonic plates Iceland lies on. The plates steadily move apart, at a rate of about 2 cm a year, so volcanic activity in the area is considerable and thus it has become one of the main points of interest for anyone visiting this part of the world.

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Sunday morning saw a pretty early start, as we were counting on getting a ride with one of the cars leaving Dalvik after the festival. The plan was to move east and see all the lava Myvatn has to offer.

It was pretty windy, so I put a scarf around my head and according to Antoine the unusual headwear was the reason why we couldn't get a ride for a long time.. Suddenly I saw this painted fish on a stick, a small remnant of the festival, and thought it might help our cause. I don't think it did, though. At first I would try using it instead of my thumb, which was getting numb, but it made the whole arm go numb. Also, I guess it was kinda scary for the drivers who seemed to think I was gonna poke them with my blue fish.

Luckily, we finally managed to get a ride and arrived in Akureyri. Had breakfast, walked the whole one main street and set off again. First we stood in a wrong spot, too much in the city center (ekhm ekhm) but some nice lady gave us a ride to a gas station next to the turn everyone going to Myvatn had to take. It was the right spot, as within minutes we got picked up by an empty bus. The driver didn't speak English and we weren't sure he quite understood where we wanted to get to exacty but you know what they say - you don't look a hitched bus in the route!

Without thinking much we sat back, enjoyed the view of Akureyri as we were leaving it behind us and soon fell asleep.

When we later woke up, or maybe it was the driver himself that did that?, we realized we were on the other side of the lake to where we originally wanted to start that day. We got dropped off by the side of the road next to some amazingly blue hot water pond thingy in the middle of dry, sandy and gravely nothingness.

We were not far away from Jarðböðin Við Mývatn, the Myvatn Nature Baths so we started walking. 

I thought it would take much longer but actually it couldn't have been more than a 1km walk till we saw the steam surrounding the natural hot baths and the amazing colour water has in there.

It is most often called 'the Blue Lagoon of the north' and is the perfect place to relax and soak in the atmosphere of the place, with the soaking in being quite literal. I do regret not going in but hey, I've got something left to do the next time I get there! And when I do, I will make sure to spend a couple of minutes trying to find a perfect spot with the perfect temperature. I'll avoid standing with my feet in cool water while my shoulders barely stand its the heat  below the surface, which I read is common. I'll look for one of the underwater benches to sit back on and enjoy the view of surrounding hills while having a leisurely chat with other travellers with whom I'll exchange tips on where to go and what to eat. Ah, that'll be a nice afternoon!

From there the road took us for a 5km trek around craters and lava fields. Our first stop along the way was a small crater leftover, a perfect setting for lunch. The cool thing, apart from the view you get, is the earth's heat you get to feel as it is given away through some small cracks in the rock.

After a short walk we got to the next tourist point - two caves with hot pots inside. I'm almost sure I saw a 'no bathing' sign in front of the entrance but Antoine says he saw no such thing. The sign I supposedly saw was a reason not to even try to go in for a dip but now I wonder if maybe it would have been fine after all..

Another small trek through lava and small bushes later and we found ourselves facing Mt. Hverfjall, a huge and truly majestical tephra crater, looking over the most interesting lava foundations of Krafla and the Myvatn Lake, with its numerous little islands. It definitely is a place worth visiting.

The crater itself is about 2500 years old, one kilometre in diameter and 140 meters deep. The whole time I was walking around its rim, I couldn't help but think how smooth it seemed, just like volcanic marble, and how cool it would have to be to ski down its walls in winter.

Once you finish your walk up the crater, it's time to move on to the curious lava formations lying between you and Myvatn. Just make sure to notice the rather vague indication of the path down from Hverfjall, we passed right next to it. Antoine did the smarter thing and just ran down the side of it, I acted like the proper tourist and took the serpentinous path, which I believe to be much more tiring and dangerous than what he did. 

And without a doubt
more time consuming - Antoine had to wait for quite a bit before I managed to follow all the swirls and turns down.

The fields are unlike anything I'd seen before, kinda make you feel like in the Middle Earth or something. It's not a surprise to me that the Apollo 11 crew chose this area for their moonwalk trainings back in the 60s.

After a while you get to a point with a crossroads of a sort, you can either continue your trek following other paths or go back to civilisation. Well, kind of a civilisation at least. It was getting a bit late and we'd been on the road the whole day, so decided to go to the nearest car park. We were happy to see a restaurant with a viewing platform, a toilet was a nice addition as well, I won't lie to you. Anyways, Antoine found a place to get some beer, I found a place to make myself a banana and peanut butter sandwich and all that in the middle of Icelandic nature's beauty - life was good! We took a short break and it was time to get going, especially that it was beginning to get cold.

We walked to the road and started wondering where to spend the night. I thought we would maybe still try to hitch that day and start going back west, use more of the daylight, almost everpresent at that time of year and in that part of the island. However, at one point Antoine saw a spot he liked behind the little fence running by the side of the road to prevent sheep from escaping onto the road (or maybe men escaping off the road) and it was decided we camp out by the lake.

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