Iceland: The Magnificent North (Part 1)

As we left the Eastern edge of Iceland, the storm that had put a dampener on affairs finally started to clear a little and we could finally see more than a few hundred meters. We left the Snæfellsnes Peninsula behind us and headed East, sadly skipping the Westfjords region as we wouldn’t have the time to explore that region. Will just have to go back another time and do that one eh?

We decided to check out the Tröllaskagi Peninsula and drive around its perimeter before entering the volcanic region surrounding Lake Mývatn. The scenery continued to change with every turn and we got a nice alternative to the Westfjords with some truly breathtaking scenery on our drive around Tröllaskagi.

Volcano boobs? No, these pointy hills are the result of being the highest point on the land and so naturally are a perfect spot for birds to land and survey the area. They of course have a little poop on the top of the mound and the nutrients in their bathroom breaks cause these little lumps of added growth to form. Interesting huh?
Arnarvatn with the Icelandic highlands beyond. Such inviting views!
A rather large crater quickly looms up out of the landscape and disappears again as we drive on by.
The huge mountains that make up the Tröllaskagi peninsula’s rocky heart.
Our noble steed from Kuku Campers.
Tiny church, giant volcanic hills. A common sight on the drive around Iceland.
The storm giving chase to us on distant hills.
Drangey, all that remains of a 700,000 year old volcano sitting in the middle of Skagafjörður fjord.
Some of the mountains look almost man-made and reminded me of Sebastião Salgado’s images of mines in South America and Africa.
That beautiful Icelandic grass that’s neither green or yellow.
The view as we emerged from one of several tunnels on our drive around the coastline. They’re a little sketchy as there’s only one lane so you have to stop for oncoming cars. Thankfully there’s frequent pull in bays.
Some locals playing a game of volleyball in the rather quaint town of Siglufjörður, which features prominently in the Icelandic TV show Trapped. (Great show by the way,!)
See what I mean? Quaintness. Icelandic towns aren’t the most scenic usually so it was nice to see this splash of colour.
Icelandic fishermen have got to be some of the toughest guys around. I’d imagine the seas around here get pretty damn rough.
Beautiful door on the side of the Kaffi Rauðka.
Not to be outdone, Hannes Boy has lovely windows and a delightful pile of wood.
I went for a bit of a stroll around Siglufjörður to get this view of the town.
This view! The photos do it no justice whatsoever. I remember seeing it on Google Street View when I was researching for our trip but nothing prepared me for how epic it was. The light was just incredible, got me a little emotional just taking it all in.
Just……………Wow!
Brrrrrrr, looks frosty up top!

The scenery up till this point in the trip had been rather green but all that was about to change as we entered perhaps my favourite part of the country. The power of nature and volcanic activity is the name of the game in the Mývatn area.

Our first port of call was Dimmuborgir, which translates as the Dark Fortress and boy is that accurate! The rock formations here are really cool and the walk amongst them is really pleasant, except perhaps for the flies that seem to love flying right into your face and hovering around your head.

Nearby lies the Moon. The Moon James? Yes….The Moon. Okay fine it’s not the moon but it certainly feels like you’re on the lunar surface when you explore Hverfjall, a 1km diameter tephra cone that is just out of this world amazing. You can hike all the way around the crater, which takes approximately one hour but in reality would probably take 74 as you’ll keep stopping to take photos or just stare into it.

I’m feeling queezy just looking at the shots from Hverir. The smell. Oh Dear Lord God Almighty Above Us the smell! It was like the worst fart imaginable that was then captured and placed into a box to ferment for a million years and then added to a bunch of gone off eggs which were then eaten and pooped out and then the process repeated over and over until you have the single worst smell ever. I literally almost threw up several times as the sulphurous gases blew in my direction. Ugh! The mud puddles and fumaroles are really cool though but yeah maybe wear a gas mask if you’re planning a visit haha.

Holy rockface Batman! Took a little while to get a photo of this without a tourist posing inside it. Pretty sure that’s not even allowed but yeah, people are dicks.
The Dark Fortress, sounds like an awesome metal band name…….which it is haha.
See what I mean? The freaking moon! Had to Photoshop this one just to show how completely alien the landscape is here.
Meanwhile on Earth, the actual view of Hverfjall is just incredible.
Hikers on the far side of Hverfjall show the scale of this epic volcano.
Gemma taking in the view.
Looking towards Lake Mývatn from the sides of Hverfjall.
Taking a stroll around the edge of a volcano. Epicness.
I’m shaking my head in disbelief writing this months later. This place was just so damn awesome. Take me back!
Krafla, which is nice and all but it’s no Hverfjall.
We get it bro, you vape. It’s actually steam from a nearby geothermal plant. Iceland uses the power of the volcanic activity below its surface for 25% of its energy needs.
An old lava flow near Krafla. It was huge!
Would you stand around a volcano that last erupted in 1984? I would!
The Geothermal power plant at Krafla. Following eruptions in the 70’s and 80’s, magma was found to be only 2km below the surface. A little close for comfort?
Damn pesky roads making them move the pipes.
Beautiful and mesmerising to look at but try not to breathe!
Bubbling mud, like a delicious grey soup that smells like death.
Seeing steam rise out of the very earth you’re walking on is just the coolest thing!

5 thoughts on “Iceland: The Magnificent North (Part 1)

  1. I imagine that capturing the image and atmosphere of Iceland is a formidable challenge. But you’ve nailed it with pen and camera. Many thanks, James. MC

    On Mon, 24 Jun 2019, 12:15 Czeching Out Tasmania, wrote:

    > Czeching Out posted: ” As we left the Eastern edge of Iceland, the storm > that had put a dampener on affairs finally started to clear a little and we > could finally see more than a few hundred meters. We left the Snæfellsnes > Peninsula behind us and headed East, sadly skipping th” >

    1. Thanks Maurice, I don’t feel I did it justice at all. That task would be best laid out to poets I feel. There’s such a grand majesty to that place that’s difficult to get your head around and comprehend.

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