2010.8.15

I always get up very early and the weather is nice today. I don't know why I met bad weather in Iceland so often? I hope the good weather could continue longer.

I leave Eggistaðir at about 7:00, and I see Icelandic Horses near the ring road to Myvatn.

I take a stop here, and luckily, a horse get so close to me that I could touch him and take nice photos.

There are few cars on the road. Although the sun is big, it doesn't affects the photographing when driving westwards. 

I listen to MP3 player and drive in a good mood. It will be better if I didn't forget to record the music CD and bring it to Iceland.

The only feeling as I drive towards Myvatn is that everything I see is like a picturesque postcard.

The photos could not display all I see around.

When crossing a small mountain after passing the geothermal area on your left side, it means that you have arrived at Myvatn. The most obvious scene is the steam and the spring in tiffany blue.

Besides, when your head get aurrounded by groups of midges, you don't have to doubt that you are in Myvatn. The Englsih name of Myvatn is Midge Lake. I don't like them at all, though they won't bite you. 

They are quite annoying like flies.

The map here is much clear than that in Lonely Planet. You could realize the location of each attraction around Myvatn that you could not find in the book. And you could get a free map in the tourist information center.

Driving along ring road to the end, this is the Myvatn campsite where is just beside the lake. Turning right, you will see a gastion, a supermarket and the tourist information center right away.

You could get many tour information here, and the staff here could also arrange the tour for you.

As for the tours in Myvatn, when I was still staying in Reykjavik, I met a man who told me lots of information about Myvatn. It's always good that you could meet somebody so kindly and friendly. And we event met agian in Landmannalaugar.

The must-join tours he told me are:

(1) Askja: a twelve-hour day trip whic take you to the remote interior area of central highlands in Iceland. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Askja). It's a pity that I don't have another free day to join this tour.

(2) Cave Exploration: you will explore the underground of Lofthellir Lava Cave. That is a very exciting tour that you could step on ice and see icicles and ice stalactites. (See Sagatravel: http://www.sagatravel.is/en/mos/5/)

(3) Myflug: Taking the aircraft to watch the scenes on the sky. The area includes Myvatn, Jökulsárgljúfur national park, Askja and Grimsey. They provides these options for you. But this tour is affected by the weather and the number of the tourists on that day (2-4 people needed). Actually, I prefer this tour at first, but the weather is still raining that I change to join the Cave tour.

Anyway, Myvatn is a place where is worthy of spending your time here. Sometimes, the information in the book or from someone who have travelled in Iceland is not as useful as you think.

When I planned the journey and gathered information from backpackers, their itineraries always arrange only two to three days here. They couldn't tell you about how exciting the tours are. Maybe they joined the tour but didn't showed you the pictures. Maybe they didn't joined these tours because of the weather or season.

I have to thank to that man who told me a lot in Reykjavik.

If I could know these information in advance, maybe I will arrange more days in Myvatn.

But travelling is such a thing that you could not know everything when you plan.

Except for arranging the tours, the tourist information center could also book the accommodation for you, and you could buy bus tickets, postcards and stamps here.

The center also display geographic information about Myvatn. You could see the real volcano rocks here. These rocks are different from those in Westman Island. The color of volcano rocks in Myvatn is red, and the rock in Westman Island is black. But they both have many small air holes on the surface.

The picture below describe how annoying the Midges are. That's quite uncomfortable.

As I told above, The tour I prefer to join is Myflug. When I arrived at the information center, I ask the staff about this tour. He told me that the weather today is not good for flying, but tomorrow will be a sunny day. Then he makes a call to the office of Myflug, but on one answers. 

For this reason, I drive to the office directly. As a result, there is no staff in the office.

It seems that I have to come back here later in the afternoon, so I start my visiting around the attractions in Myvatn.

If you look at the positions of these attractions, the recommended route is:

Hofði → Skútustaðir → (return) → Dimmuborgir → Hverfjall

When you back to the information center again, you drive along ring road to the direction that you comes from, and visit these atractions:

Myvatn Hot Spring → Namafjall → Krafla Power Station & Viti

However, hot spring is quite near so you could arrange it in the final.

 

My first stop is Hofði where is a green park with nice views.

It's worth to take a walk here along the pathway inside. You could see the scenes of the lake at the high position. It may takes about thirty minutes or more.

If you watch carefully, you may notice about the pseudo-crater of Skútustaðir far away in the lake.

But the view from the sky will be better unless you find a higher position.

According to my plan, the second stop should be Skútustaðir, but I get confused at that time and stop at a place where a bus and some tourists stay. Unfortunately, It is not.

Although I could see the Pseudo-craters in the lake, I just feel there is something wrong.

The scene is different from what I have seen in the postcard.

When I return and arrived at the entrance of Dimmuborgir, I read the book carefully for the introduction of Skútustaðir, and I find that Skútustaðir is a small town where a gas station is nearby.

Since I have arrived at Dimmuborgir, I think I should visit here first and then come back to Skútustaðir "Again". 

In the meanwhile, I also wonder whether the GPS is better than the map, because the road sign is not always on the right position.

Dimmuborgir is a lava field with many cave and rock formations. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimmuborgir). According to the information, these pillars were formed when a lava lake flowed cross the marsh, and then the vapor, the boiled water, rose through the lava and formed these pillars.

The area is so wide that I only spend my time for a part of the pathway.

As the Pseudo-craters of Skútustaðir, I think it would be better to watch the whole lava formations of Dimmuborgir in the sky. 

If you are not interested in watching rocks, these unusual shaped formations may be the same things for you.

After Dimmuborgir, I come back to Skútustaðir.

This time, I'm sure that I'm in Skútustaðir. I park my car opposite to the gas station, and walk to the path of Pseudo-craters. You could watch the pseudo-caldera on the summit, and other pseudo-craters in the lake. The crater is not high in height so it's easy to take a walk around.

Because they are not true craters, the depth of the caldera is not as deep as the real one.

It's bad that the weather is bad. If not, I prefer to watch the pseudo-crater in the sky, just like the scene shown in the postcards.

Except for Skútustaðir, there is also another pseudo-crater, the hugest pseudo-crater in Myvatn, named Hverfjall.

It is different from the craters of Skútustaðir, Hverfjall is composed of tephra and is one kilometer in diameter. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hverfjall). There are tow path to the summit. One is easy for everyone, and the other is much more difficult.

If you have a telescope, you could see the tourists walking along the ring in the summit.

Of course, I will be one of them to walk to the summit by the easy path.

By the way, the entrance of Hverfjall also direct to the road to Lofthellir. But you could not find the cave in the wide lava field, even you have joined the cave tour. 

As I walk to the summit, the rain gets bigger and the wind is so strong that I could not hold my umbrella. I only wear my Goretex coat, put on and grab the hat tightly, and walk slowly up to there.

I don't know How long I have walked, but the scene is good when I arrived at the top. 

The caldera is like the picture below, and the small hill is in the center. Maybe the sand hill will become huger as the time goes by.

It's almost 2 o'clock when I walk down from Hverfjall. I go to the Myflug office again, and the staff is there already.

The staff tells me that if the weather tomorrow is good, I can come to the office at about 10:00 and wait for other tourists who want to join the fly tour.

Okay, I hope that the weather will be good as the forecast said.

Maybe I'm just not lucky for flying. Last year, I also wanted to take the helicopter to the top of Franz Josef glacier, but the tour was changed for the bad weather. 

 

Since the time is confirmed, I continue my visiting towards the ring road.

It only takes a few minutes to arrive at Namafjall, the geothermal area with boiling mudpools and fumaroles, after crossing the mountain.

The scene is picturesque like you are in a different world.

The major part of Námafjall is mud pools with slight smell of smelly eggs.

And the steam emitted from the fumarole is also smelled like the smelly eggs.

In New Zealand, there is also a geothermal area around Rotorua, like Wai-O-Tapu (http://www.waiotapu.co.nz/). The area is wider, with various geothermal scenes.

But I think the scenes of Námafjall, especially the colorful mountain is unique. Anyway, they are all worthy of watching.

The next spot, Krafla is a big caldera in Myvatn area. But Krafla is sometimes refered to the Krafla Power Station for the tourists. 

The power station is famous for its U-shaped tube cross over the road to Viti crater.

And the main purpose for going to Krafla is watching the Viti crater.

A parking place is near the crater. It won't take you a lot of time.

Some tourists will choose to walk the trekking path, but the distance is quite long. You may see some tourists rising their big thumb waiting for the hitchhike in the midway.

 I' so sorry that my car is in a mess and I could not give you a drive.

By the way, if you still have enough time, it's recommended to visit Leirhnjúkur near the Viti Crater.

The lava landscape is unique as this website introduces: http://www.sanmarkotravel.com/en/Vacations/Iceland/Krafla_-_Leirhnjukur_-_Myvatn.aspx

Lonely Planet didn't mention it a lot.

It's a pity that I don't know this spot at that time. Even I knew it, I may not have enough time to go there.

The result is, Myvatn is worthy of spending 3 to 5 days for enjoying every scene around and joining the exciting tours.

 

I buy a coke and a package of hamburgers in the supermarket, as I finish all the visiting. Why do I buy the hamburgers? That is because I could not find mince in Iceland, and the mince of hamburger is the only choice.

I have bought the spaghetti and the source already, but I think that a tasty spaghetti could not be made without mince. 

I don't know why Icelandic supermarket only sell the chunks of meat. This is not convenient for tourists to make the mince by themselves without any equipment.

As for the bread, I could eat them just like the toast. Actually, they are much tasty than the toast.

Before I go to the hot spring, I pay for the camping in the campsite office. The price for one night is 1200 ISK, but if you buy the hot spring ticket from the desk, you could save 200 ISK for the camping and pay 3500 ISK for both camping and the hot spring.

Besides, the Myvatn campsite is the only place that provides bicycle rental. So it would be very convenient for the tourists who don't drive.

I look around the campsite, find a good location for the tent, and then drive to the hot spring in the late afternoon.

The rain stops. This is a good time for soaking in the spring.

You could take photos outside the pool. The location is beside the the entrance.

Taking photos is not enough. You must go soaking in the warm spring water.

The weather is cold even in the summer, but you will feel good when you walk through the cold air and soak in the spring.

The spring here is with a smell of smelly eggs, and is not suitable for drinking.

I take some photos in the center of the spring, and other tourists do the same thing like me.

There is a spot, there is the camera. That's no doubt.

When I come back to the campsite, I cook the spaghetti in the kitchen with free gas stoves.

Because it takes time to cook the spaghetti, I cook it all and store half of the spaghetti in the plastic container. I think that is enough for two days.

Then, I crumb the hamburger mince, fry the mince in the pot, and put the source together. The delicious spaghetti meat source is made.

Enjoying my spaghetti and the sunset in the kitchen,  I hope that the weather will be good tomorrow.

 

P.S:The formation of Pseudo-crater

The pictures is take in the Myvant Information Center.

At First, the lava cross over the lake of Myvant (or any wet surface), and the water covered inside will become steam.

When the pressure of the steam get bigger, it will break the top of the lava.

Then the clods and rocks will gather in the center, and the mouth will get wider.

As time goes by, it become the pseudo-crater we see now.

Further Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudocrater

More about Myvatn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mývatn

 

Attachment:Travelling Route Map

 

 

A:Eggistaðir

B:Reykjahlíð, Myvatn

C:Hofði

D:Skútustaðir

E:Dimmuborgir

F:Hverfjall (Pseudo-crater)

G:Namafjall

H:Krafla Power Station & Viti

I:Myvatn Hot Spring

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