Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Iceland: Adventures on the road

After the volcano, we headed toward Keflavik via the Reykjanesfólkvangur nature reserve.

Though honestly, I am not sure exactly what nature they are trying to preserve.  Moss, I guess.  And occasionally a piece of grass or a flower.

It was astonishingly quiet.  No car noise, but also no birds or bugs or anything.  Just quiet.

And not really great GPS.  Or at least my phone wasn't able to keep up with us.  So we got a bit lost and eventually realized the sun was on the wrong side of the car and in fact we were headed the wrong way.

In the middle of nowhere, with 1/8 tank of gas and barely-functional cellphone maps.   So that was exciting.

Luckily, there are very few roads so we basically figured out which one would take us east and went that way, determined to make it to Grindavik (and the nearest petrol station).  Keep in mind we were trying to get to Keflavik from Thrinkugiguir Volcano, so the map below shows just how far out of the way we ended up.

On the road to Grindavik we had the happy (and slightly smelly) mistake to stumble across the springs at Krýsuvík - Seltún.  

These are sulfurous hot springs where you can see the water boiling right out of the earth

Apparently several years ago they had tried to build a geothermal facility here, and it exploded.  So yeah, it's a pretty active set of springs.  Did I mention the water was actually boiling?  And we saw more warning signs here than anywhere else in Iceland (though as you can see in the picture above, not so many guardrails).

In some places the water was thick and green (like below) and boiling in sort of this thick green soupy way

And in some the surrounding earth had dried up and cracked leaving this martian-like landscape

There was a boardwalk where you could go between the springs all the way to the countryside below

So that was neat, though incredibly smelly.  After that, we did make it to Grindavik, and had an amazing salt cod dinner.  At about 9pm.  And then went outside to take the picture below at 9:30pm.

That last night we actually stayed up until sunset, at 12:52.   We thought we might as well get the most out of our last night in Iceland, and took a lovely hike through the lavender flowers up over the cliffs near Keflavik to watch the sky turn colors.  At 1am.

What an amazing, amazing trip.

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