Today we visited the beautiful port of Akureyri, Iceland. We had surprisingly warm and clear weather. Our tour-guide said we must have offered some sort of gift to the ‘weather gods’ to get such beautiful weather. It got up to a toasty 70 degrees, but at times in the bus (that didn’t have very good air conditioning) it felt closer to 80 or 90!
We took a tour that drove us to many interesting and beautiful places. We visited Godafoss Falls, which means “Waterfall of the Gods” but not because it’s so beautiful, but because when the local elders made the decision to convert to Christianity, they tossed their Norse god figures into the waters there.
The falls were nice and then we headed to Skatustadir, which is an area of large ‘rootless craters’ at Lake Myvatn. Our guide explained that the the large mounds were actually where molten lava met with the water of the lake and solidified. They looked like normal hills, but some of them had collapsed, so they looked like craters and we were told that some of the local farmers sometimes shelter their sheep in them. It was somewhat hard to enjoy the view because there were swarms of little flies buzzing around.
After we left Lake Myvatn, we headed to Dimmuborgir, which means “Twilight Castles.” This is an area where a lava flow met with subterainian water and it caused explosive blasts of steam and lava, which created large lava formations. A local folktale explains that a lonely Troll woman lived in the area and decided to have a party, and invited many Troll friends from the ‘southern lands.’ They all had such a good time listening to music and dancing that they didn’t notice the sun rising, and when the sun hit them, they all turned into stone.
There was a fissure in the ground and our guide explained that it was where the North American Plate meets the European Plate, so a person could stand with one foot on each land-plate. She also showed us that if you looked way down in the fissure, there was actually snow and ice at the bottom.
After we left that area we went to Namaskard, which is where there are sulphur-mud pots and steam coming from the ground. It looked like the landscape of some distant planet, and it smelled slightly of rotten eggs. It was interesting to wander around though and the steam was really loud as it poured from the ground.
After leaving there was a long hot ride back to the harbor. Our guide was kind enough to drop us off ‘downtown’ where there were some shops that we could look around in before heading back to the ship.
Tonight we are going to cross into the Arctic Circle for a whole 45 minutes. Someone told us we will get a certificate of some sort for traveling in the Arctic Circle.
It was a beautiful day in a beautiful port. Tomorrow is a day at sea, and then we will arrive in Lerwick Scotland (Shetland Islands). We will be visiting Scalloway Castle and seeing Shetland Ponies.
Goodbye, Iceland….we enjoyed visiting you!