From Reykavik we sailed to Akuryeri through a fjord Ejiafjordur; very beautiful. And the captain announced two whales off the port bow! What a treat to see whales in the distance. Our excursion guide said the two whales are frequent visitors.
Linda and I took and excursion to explore Iceland's diverse landscape -- it was AMAZING. And again -- our local guide was GREAT. I loved that she told stories!
Driving around the end of the fjord
Our first destination was a milky blue waterfall, Godafoss.
River (on the trail to Godafoss)
Rainbow from the falls
From there we drove to an area of pseudocraters by Lake Myvatn. Pseudocraters are formed when hot lava flows over a wet area (like a swamp) and causes and explosive reaction. Actual craters are vents where the lava has flowed out from the earth's core.
We then went on to an area of lava formations called Dimmurburger. Large volcanoes surrounded this area. And many of them were leaking steam and smoke ...
But here are a few photos from Dimmurburger. Our guide told us the folk tale about this area: Iceland has many hidden people, including trolls. Trolls are huge, ugly and mean, and they freeze in sunlight (I think I knew that from a Hobbit movie!) In Iceland, the trolls decided to all meet together to discuss how to get rid of the pesky humans that were moving into their homeland. But since it had been a long time since they met together, they decided to have a party with lots of alcohol and roast meats. They were having such a good time, and got so intoxicated, they forgot to watch for the dawn. The big lava formations are frozen trolls; some of them are kissing each other in a final goodbye.
Many of you know I live in a very volcanic area with lots of lava. But we don't have any frozen trolls! Iceland's vegetation is very different also -- the Vikings denuded all the trees, and trees have been very slow to grow back. But there is some vegetation that is the same -- heather was blooming among the lava rocks.
Our final stop was my favorite: Myvatn, near the fissure between two tectonic plates is a textbook of volcanic action! Geysers, steam vents, craters, boiling mud pots!
Can you see the tiny figures across the shallow hot lake? It's not the best photo, but it might give some sense of the size of Myvatn.
We took the bus back on the other side of lake Myvatn, around the end of the fjord, and back to the ship.
Linda and I explored Akureyri in the evening, and the next morning. We normally take the hop on/hop off buses, which have a narrated tour in various languages (through ear buds that are provided). In Akureyri, the tourism office told us the city buses went to the same destinations and were free. So we rode the city buses -- in hindsight, that might have been a mistake! We had no clue as to where we were! Of course all the announcements were in Icelandic. Near the end of our ride, a Japanese passenger from our boat helped us out by showing us where we were on the GPS app on his SmartPhone. On the plus side -- I do like going into the non-tourist areas of the city, and the bus stopped at apartment houses and grocery stores, and the university.
The beautiful Lutheran church at the top of a hill is by the same architect that designed the church in Reykavik.
We loved the pedestrian mall in downtown! It had flowers -- and TROLLS!
My favorite photos from the whole trip are the ones of the fjord as we sailed away from Iceland. I just loved the dramatic light on the hills, and the colors! One of these will be the inspiration for my first landscape painting ... And the whales were spouting in the fjord as we were leaving!