Thursday, September 24, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 4: Akureyri and the North

(please refrain from using my pictures without permission)

continuing from my last installment, we were in Borgarnes (the west). from there, we headed up North towards Akureyri, which was about four and half hours' drive. as usual, we drove along the coastal areas. the paths were long and winding. the clouds hovering low over the cliffs, still. there were times when the roads were really zigzagging and steep. it would get all foggy and cold one moment, and then all sunny and clear and warmer the next.

the small city of Akureyri in the North -- apparently, the second biggest in Iceland, next to Reykjavik

we had lunch at the City Center in a nice restaurant called Strikid, which has very good reviews and located a few meters from our hotel. i really enjoyed my seafood lunch.

the view of Akureyri as we cross the huge lake on the way to Myvatn

i would open the windshield from time to time to capture in stills the magnificent fjords with countless tall waterfalls trickling down the sides. it was beautiful and breath-taking.

we passed by an area that is apparently famous for seals. we didn't make a lot of stops this time as we wanted to just have a quick lunch at Akureyri city center and then head off to Myvatn to relax in the pools of hot water that it is famous for. apparently, they call it The Blue Lagoon of the North.

i wanted to visit The Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik at first. but upon reading the reviews and finding out how despicably touristic the area is, we felt it best to opt for the less crowded one. it was indeed less crowded, but still crowded for me.

the fog closing in on us as we leave behind Akureyri for Myvatn

first stop -- Godafoss in Bárðardalur, it was huge, magnificent and gorgeous!

we passed by this geothermal plant on the way to the baths... lots of interesting colors here. i just might make a painting out of this pic. :)

and this is how the pool looked like. it's bluer than it looks. this pic was taken with my husband's crappy blackberry phone.

we passed by this crater on the way back to Akureyri, which was a tempting two-hour hike. but we didn't have the time. they say it has a blue crater lake like Mt. Pinatubo. i forgot the name, though.

we settled for this short walk along a small pond with pseudo-craters... quite interesting.

at the Skútustaðir craters -- standing here on top of one of the pseudo-craters. it was so cold and windy. white birds far out in the background.

a short literature about the place

we stayed at the baths for about an hour. it was very nice and relaxing. the water was a bit stinky, though. but that was to be expected. there was no long queue to enter and the pool was not very crowded. but still too crowded for really good pictures. 

and then we started on the road again. there were a lot of interesting landscapes and rock formations and nature walks along the way but we didn't really have much time to do some of the long walks, unfortunately. along the way, we managed to find an interesting walk at Skútustaðir. we walked around a small pond surrounded by pseudo-craters. it was out-of-this-world! the pseudo-craters were like little versions of Taal volcano in the Philippines. except that they don't erupt... i think... the place was so windy and looked a bit lonely. and not at all touristy. it made my heart ache a bit looking around and seeing how beautiful everything is! it was the exact same feeling i was having while reading "Wuthering Heights" back in highschool.

some nice portrait graffiti that looks like my pretty friend (took this pic for her)  

some guy (probably drunk) took a dive right into the small playground... good thing no kids (or adults) were harmed

old and blue

we headed back to Akureyri to take a bit rest at the hotel, which is right at the middle of everything. and then off we were for a short walk again at the city center. after which, we decided to get dinner at the same nice restaurant where we were for lunch.

back at Strikid for apéro and dinner

hubby took the N° Iceland (top) and i took some strawberry-flavored cocktail, which was really good and refreshing.

having a cool drink and a nice simple dinner (the place was famous for burgers) was a really good way to cap off another tiring day on the road... but hang in there, dear readers. more adventure awaits... ;)

Next: The Drive from Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon

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