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Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Today was the day that we spent the most time agonizing over what to do. Akureyri is a very nice place - I wouldn't mind living here, actually - but in terms of tourist things to do, there's not a whole lot. That's why today we decided we were going to go east again.

Our first stop was at Krafla, a caldera just southwest of Dettifoss. It's an interesting place - formed during the Mývatn Fires in the 1720s, it now hosts a geothermal power station. One of their pipelines runs across the road, and instead of burying it, it goes up in an arch over the roadway. We hiked around one of the craters, Víti, said to be an entrance to hell, that has a green-blue lake in it. We also stopped at the site of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, which meant to drill down to super-hot rock 4,000 meters down, but hit a magma chamber at half that depth. On the way back to the Hringvegur, we stopped at a little roadside parking lot that was centered on a pipe coming up out of the ground connected to a shower head. It was spraying water at just the right temperature to take a shower, though rather exposed...

Back at the Ring Road, we decided to head east and cross the border into the East Iceland region, so we could say we'd been to all of them. We went a little further than we anticipated, because there is NOTHING THERE. It's like driving through the Midwest, but more so. Eventually we hit the town of Egilsstaðir, the largest settlement in East Iceland. It's home to about 2,000 people. After a refuel and quick bite to eat, we headed east out of town to go look at a waterfall that was mentioned on a map at their visitor center. It turns out that from the official parking lot it's about a 90 minute hike in the wind, but there's a pull-off up above the falls where you can walk down to the river for some good pictures.

Rather than turn around, we decided to go out to the end of the road (Route 93), to see the small town there. On the way we stopped at Gufufoss, another waterfall. This one you could walk all the way out onto right from the parking lot. There was evidence of some flood control facilities (weirs across the channel, a depth gauge), and a monument with text in a rune-like script chiseled into it. Once again, this served as a reminder of how different the US and Iceland approach risk management - we could walk out onto the edge of the falls themselves, with a 70-80' drop inches away, and there was no guard rail or warning signs.

From Egilsstaðir onwards, we'd seen tour busses, which seemed odd for such a remote area. Then we drove into Seyðisfjörður, the town at the end of the fjord. Tied up at the dock was the MS Norrona, a cruiseferry from the Faroe Islands. The busses were carrying tourists who had taken the ferry about 48 hours from Denmark. The town itself wasn't very big - maybe 500 residents - but they have a blue church that appears in a lot of tour guides, so we stopped for pictures.

At that point it was 4:30 and we were a four hour drive from the apartment, so we hit the road and headed for home. Tonight we're eating leftovers and packing - tomorrow we drive back to Reykjavik for one last night, then off to the airport. This is probably the last post until we get home Friday night or Saturday morning - see you then!

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