Into the North

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Continuing in our counter-clockwise journey around the Isle of Fire and Ice, we began heading northward into the more remote parts of the island.  Our last really tourist friendly stop was this bay.  Here, chunks of glacier fall off into the water and float out to sea, and you can take boat tours around to watch it.

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Some good-natured tourist(s) before us set up this big rock-spiral.  I like it, so I took a picture.

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A while back we discussed cairns and their etymology, so I won’t bother you too much about it here, but I will show you another picture of one.

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The road following the icy bay got ever smaller and less accommodating.  It eventually switched from asphalt to dirt and gravel, cut down from one lane in each direction to just one lane, and we periodically had to pull over to let someone heading southward go around us.  Then the road began to climb up into the mountains and go along narrow ledges without railing.  Thankfully, Sarah, and not I, was driving, and I’m immensely grateful to her for not launching us off of a remote cliff to plummet to our untimely deaths in an icy gorge.

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Perilous though it might have been (and really, it might not have been), the scenery was stunning.  Though it’s not quite as popular a tourist destination as, say, the Golden Circle or Reykjavík, if you go to Iceland, you really ought to visit the Northwest.  Eirikstaðir is the big town in that area, so see if you can find an inn there.  We didn’t – more’s the pity.  But it’s beautiful country.  Just look at these highlands:

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Well past Eirkstaðir, turning back westward and heading along the northern coastline, we have this geothermal pool.  Collin, one of my accomplices, told us that this was the Blue Lagoon of the North because, like the more famous Blue Lagoon down near Keflavík, this steaming pool is the runoff from a geothermal energy plant.  But a quick Google search tells me that there is another place that claims to be the Blue Lagoon of the North, called Mývatn.  Mývatn, as I gather from the photos, is somewhere where you can swim.  Judging by the signs at the place pictured here, you had better not swim here.  But you can admire the bright blue water and steam clouds.  Also, please be aware that this photo was taken after 10:00 pm.

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After admiring the glowing, steaming, blue pools of sulfury smelling water, we headed westward.  It was very late at night (though the height of the sun in the sky wouldn’t let you know it), so it seemed time to stop.  This is where we tried to stop to camp.

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Beautiful, isn’t it?  Yes, we thought so too.  But the rocks weren’t about to let us go to sleep.  So we walked around a little more and admired the scenery.

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So we packed back up and headed west (well, roughly west in a sort of winding manner) to Ákureyri, the capital of the North, famous for being Iceland’s second largest city (by most counts, anyway).  But you’ll get to hear all about that in the next post.

Thanks for reading,

B.

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