"Iceland 2010, part 4, the third week, from Husavik over Mývatn to Akureyri"
NOTE: Due to the duration of the trip and therefore volume of the diary I have split it up into several parts.
12.08.2010 Starting-km: 135.165, End-km 135.226, Distance 61 km
Thursday morning I started after the breakfast for a whalewatching tour, but in advance I had some important telephone calls. Sven Strumann had given me the address of a tire service company, their contact details were required from ADAC to ship the Continental tires to them without any further delay to Akureyri. Sven is really taking care and gave me the information that I don’t have to pay import taxes for cars which are brought to Iceland for vacation purposes. In case the customs clearance does not know their own rules he gave me the link which he recommended me to highlight to them in case I have any troubles. (Iceland Toll information – nearly at the end, pls. send me a note if the link is no longer up to date).
On the boat tour we spotted some dolphins, 2 groups with in total 20 animals, but not that close and very quick on their way, so that it was hard to take photographs of them.
There must have been as well 3 or 4 mink whales but it seems as if I am spoilt from the whalewatching tour at the east-coast of the USA 2 years ago, where lots of humpback whales were having “lunch” directly next to the boat, pls. have a look as well here.
Nevertheless, the tour was nice and I can recommend the tour for EUR 49,-. And you have to keep in mind that Húsavik is the Whalewatching capital of Europe – OK, hamlet would fit better! J
Afterwards I had a look in the only Penis-Museum of the world, the entrance fee was 600 ISK, what’s ~EUR 4,-, not too much for Icelandic price structure but as well the maximum they can raise with respect of the size of the museum. Now I can tick it off my list although it was not really necessary, who is still interested finds on their HP more information.
Afterwards I drove with max. 60 km/h to Mývatn to prevent that the ribbed-off rubber does not fly away due to centrifugal force and the steel-layers are completely unprotected. As I was told camping outside campgrounds isn’t allowed in Mývatn and so I drove directly to a campground, emptying the toilet etc. was anyhow necessary. For tomorrow I have several hints where to go, the rest of the day was relaxing, mainly in Big Foot because of the flies, which were a nightmare!
13.08.2010 Starting-km: 135.226, End-km 135.332, Distance 106 km
Because the Friday morning was dominated by rain, I stayed long in bed and read. When the rain had stopped I followed a route recommended to me, which is around the volcano Hverfell. Once you have reached a small river on the way to the “normal” tourists” parking lot you can turn here as well to the right and pass the river. The beginning is easy but gets more and more difficult. And if “Martin aus Tirol” would have informed me as well that there are a lot of rocks, stones and lava I wouldn’t have risked this trip with my damaged tire.
When you get to the end of the track is a small lake with sulphurous water and afterwards you hit the track which leads to Grjótagjá, a cave within a former lava stream and sulphurous hot water in it.
I then drove east, passed a lake on the left which origin is the “wastewater” of a geothermal plant. Swimming in here is forbidden because of hidden hot spots, to the right is a road to a thermal spa but due to what I have heard it is quite expensive and therefore I didn’t visit it.
I crossed a ridge of a volcano and on the other side were hot springs of all kind:
Bubbling tubes with mud,
hot and loud sizzling steam-sources
There were more Germans will 4x4 campers but unfortunately I did meet anybody.
Directly after this location a road was going to the left to another huge thermal power-plant,
Here as well a volcano with a lake inside,
A volcanic area
which surprises with its quantity of stones
and hot steam outlets of stinky quality is a worth to see point.
On my way back I made again a stop at Grjótagjá to take a bath. But for my feeling the water was too hot to feel comfortable and so I went in but didn’t stay long.
It was now ~18:00h, time for the fuc… flies to restart their duty. It was a nightmare and even when I left the truck just for a short while the flies were there in clouds. They didn’t bite but they were creeping everywhere. So nearly all following photos where taken from within the cabin.
The lake Mývatn is covered with a lot of volcanoes in every size and of cause the same applies for the area around the lake.
It’s a spectacular sight.
Because of the flies I decided not to stay next to the lake and drove west to a volcano ridge at the “1” from where I had a nice view to Mývatn. But if here really were fewer flies I cannot say with confidence.
As I read in Wikipedia meanwhile flies are really a problem here and the name of the area refers to the flies. The carbon-dioxide stimulates the flies to cloud together and therefore the nose is very attractive for them – it is recorded that some horses died because of too many flies entering their noses!
14.08.2010 Starting-km: 135.332, End-km 135.480, Distance 148 km
I think I saw most of the highlights of Mývatn and so I followed the “1” further west. The next stop was Goðafoss, where a local lord threw at ~1.000 CE.. heathen statues into the river – that’s the meaning of Gods waterfall. The waterfall offered a lot of picturesque views, especially because sometimes I had sunshine.
A short drive to the west the “85” is on the right and if you like cars the village Ystafell with its car museum is worth this short sideway.
No, the sand-yellow truck is not part of the exhibition. J
Before you reach Akureyri the “83” is on the right direction north and at Laufas you can visit the old houses made of turf – the assembly was part of the church property.
Because of the construction material they need frequent service.
As the warden told me, the temperature has more or less the whole year the same the same, comfortable cool in summer, warm in winter – no wonder with that wall thickness!
Prior to the turf-houses is a restaurant with souvenirs and my special interest was raised by the “bread-cake” – but I decided for the conventional one which was excellent.
From here it was only a short drive to Akureyri.
The second-biggest town of Iceland has ~17.500 (no, no mistake!!!) inhabitants. To find the tire-service was not a big deal and they allowed me to stay here overnight if required. But the distance to the town-centre was more than 3 km and so I decided to try a parking place next to the main road (who is interested. Directly next to the coach-parking and / or the tourist-information). When walking around I saw an announcement that in the bar „Græni hatturinn“, a blues-band „Blúsmenn Andreu“ will be playing live from 22:00h.
As the Icelandic fans told me (I think I was the only non-Icelandic) it is the best blues-band from Iceland – I believed them because the voice of the singer Andrea Gylfa was very intensive and reminded me at Janis Joplin, the lead-guitar-player Guðmundur Pétursson was really a virtuoso. The 2 hours passed far too quickly. Afterwards I gave a bar a try where they told me, that they will play Techno. But this was more or less disco-style and because a beer cost ~EUR 8,- per glass I resigned quite quickly.
15.08.2010 Starting-km: 135. 480, End-km 135.480, Distance 0 km
As I had expected no-one disturbed me except a “Troter” which had decided that my roof is perfect observation platform. (The name “Troter” I have stolen from Lothar & Martina: It specifies something which “trots” on the vehicle – and because no-one opens immediately the roof-light to check which bloody thing is causing the noise it is easier to use the general phrase “Troter”!)
The noise of rain on the roof made me sleepy again and because I didn’t had anything to do except to wait till Wednesday (or hopefully earlier) and the tires have arrived I had a lazy Sunday: Sleep long, have a shower, combined breakfast and lunch, then surfing the web with the Icelandic UMTS and of course complete this report.
When the rain in the afternoon had stopped I walked through the town, visited the oldest house of Akureyri, the church etc. etc.. Unfortunately there weren’t that many interesting buildings – but therefore Iceland has a fantastic countryside!
16.08.2010 Starting-km: 135. 480, End-km 135.480, Distance 0 km
The view kilometres from today, Monday I will not count, simply not worth. I filled up the tank (93l d. h. 24l/100km – I had expected less, because I mainly drove normal street with max. 60km/h), then I went to Würth, a tool-shop with German origin. I bought a 24 mm socket in the long version as used in tire-services, which will speed up removing of the bracket onto which the spare tire is fixed. Before I had a small gap to access the 2 times 2 bolts caused by the PE-boxes which I had mounted under the cabin. But loosening or fixing them was only possible with an open-end wrench, 15° turning, turning the wrench, again 15° (or so) and this with FINE-THREAD!! So for loosening 2x 2 nuts I required nearly one hour – for fixing the same!!
Afterwards I drove to the tire-service Gúmmívinnslaan, where I dismounted now the damaged spare tire with the new tool in 15 minutes. Whilst I was there they told me to drive to the daughter company where they were busy to thought out the import issues for me. The owner got a guided tour through Big Foot. I hope that tomorrow, the latest Wednesday everything has been solved and the tires are here.
Then I went shopping in the two supermarkets, visited the shopping-mal but there isn’t really anything spectacular left here for me to do – except to wait. L
17.08.2010 Starting-km: 135. 480, End-km 135.480, Distance 0 km
Tuesday – no tires! L So I slept very long, read, translated the reports into English, after lunch a short tour: Picked up at the laundry service for a good price two sweater & my work-dress which I had given them yesterday. Then my tour to the tire-service and the daughter-company: If everything works well TNT will get the tires out of customs today (without any fees), if yes they should be here tomorrow. I bought a prepaid card for the telephone and went back to the parking place at the tourist-information.
There a Slovenian IVECO-truck arrived and asked me for a service station. I asked in return what kind of problem he has and he told me that he has lost his exhaust and requires a screw and nut size M12 to get it fixed.
I offered to do that with my standard tools which surprised him. He didn’t know the trick with the threaded rod (and to shorten it with an angle-grinder or a saw to the required length), a hand-full of screws, washers and shims and I am sure he will remember it from now on. The exhaust-fix was a quick job and we fixed as well a part of the hydraulic system with a screw. The leakage at the axle knuckle I wasn’t able to service but he said that he regularly checks the oil level. Whilst I enjoyed the offered espresso I gave them some hints where I had been and which had impressed myself most before they left, heading to Húsavik, Mývatn, Askja, … .
18.08.2010 Starting-km: 135. 480, End-km 135.480, Distance 203 km
Wednesday morning is a good one! Got a call from Gúmmívinnslaan that the tires have arrived. So immediate start, breakfast will be later. The first tire is already mounted when I arrived. I gave these babies a BIG hug!
After 4 hours I am ready: Tires mounted, had breakfast & a shower, filled water and got rid of everything I didn’t needed any longer and said thank you to Gúmmívinnslaan for their great service - and of course to all others who assisted me so much:
- Sven Strumann, with price information, important local hints, organizing the tire service etc. etc..
- Andy Paszik, who had organized in Germany the tires as a very good deal and his communication with ADAC etc. etc..
- ADAC itself who helped quickly and without any negotiations and sent FOC the tires to Iceland.
Before I started I saw the “brother” of von Big Foot. I had an interesting chat about our vehicles with the Icelandic owner, who offers coach-tours with the truck.
Finally I hit the road. The first stop is Örlygsstaðir, where the biggest battle ever in Iceland took place in the 13th century between 2 clans with 1.200 and 1.500 worriers. The footpath to the archaeological site is not long but except a column and another post with information in Icelandic you don’t see anything. So who stops here and has had a look at the information post at the road has seen from my point everything of importance.
The next target is extremely important, due to Sven Strumann they offer here the best pan cakes of whole Iceland. OK, if they are really the best ones I cannot prove because I don’t have yet tested enough (unfortunately) but I can confirm that they are really excellent.
But oral satisfaction was not the only issue – I was here as well because of the culture. The turf-houses of Glaumbær are worth seeing as well and they have made archaeological examinations which proved to date back into the 11th century!
From here I drove the “744” to Blönduós, where at the beginning of the village an island is in the river. They have planted trees here and in summer lots of different birds are nesting here – whilst that period the access is not permitted.
After the excursion I stayed here overnight – it was very stormy.