We then headed out on the Diamond circle, or so they call it. We first went through a 7km tunnel, which was pretty cool, and then we drove up through Husavik, the whale watching capital of the North, and were awed by the views of the mountains and the Fjords. We headed North out of Husavik along the ring road and Mike discovered how to use the cruise control, which made the whole trip of 317 km much easier. It was fun to see the countryside and the vistas did not disappoint. We stopped at the overlook at Oxarfjordur and it was probably one of our favorite spots of the day. The cliffs were fantastic, and the puffins and fulmars nestling on the cliff edges, then catching updrafts and soaring around were awesome. There is just something wonderful about staring out at the sea.
From the Ocean, we headed deeper into Vatnajokull National Park and found our way to Asbyrgi canyon. The canyon was either formed by glacial flooding, or when Odin’s horse, Sleipnir accidentally touched the earth here with a misplaced hoof so the legend is told. Either way, it’s a very different landscape here. The hike in the forest was dense with birch trees, artic thyme (small purple flowers), and ferns. There were also a lot of different birds and ducks than we had previously seen. Madeline enjoyed howling in the canyon and hearing the echo. It was definitely different than the endless cascade of waterfalls.
From there, it was on to Dettifoss, which stands in sheer magnitude as one of the great waterfalls around. The landscape is drastically different than the pastoral landscapes that abound. It was like being on the surface of the moon. Madeline pretended the sand was lava and hopped from rock to rock. The waterfall itself is voluminous and impressive. It was interesting to see the green cliffs on the Western shore from the spray. Everywhere else was desolate. There is another waterfall just upstream (Selfoss), which on its own would be a destination waterfall, but is dwarfed by the turbulent and noisy Detifoss less than 800 meters away.
Saturated by waterfall viewing, we headed to something a little different, the boiling mudpots outside of Lake Myvatn. This had to be the best stop of the whole trip. It smelled like someone had taken a bunch of used diapers, set them on fire, then dumped raw sewage on it. It was horrifying and awful wrapped in a cloak of misery. The smell stayed with us for the next few hours. Why anyone would want to endure more than 30 seconds of this place, is a question I would like answered. Thank you Hverir!
After the mud pots, it was on to the lake where we walked around some cool green mounds and admired the vista. Lake Myvatn seems like a cool lake, but the gnats and flies there were relentless which must make for long and annoying days by the shore. Madeline fell and scuffed up her hands while running down a hill. The natural remedy, of course, was ice-cream, which was rather delicious and mostly devoid of flies.
With our trip around the circle almost complete, we headed to our last stop, the magnanimous Godafoss. Rumored to be the waterfall where the king threw in his pagan idols and adopted Christianity, the falls themselves are certainly a great setting for any kind of lore. The river, the falls, the grassy banks are spectacular. We enjoyed the various views and the sheer power of this beautiful area.
From the falls, we headed back to Akureyri for some fish and chips, only to find that the fish and chips store had closed. So we headed back to our apartment for some oven pizzas, French fries, and more ice-cream. It was a delicious end to an adventurous day.