Iceland August 2014

Nine days in Iceland in early August 2014 starting with a couple of days in Reykjavík, sampling the food and beer, and shopping for emergency clothes & camping gear thanks to Kate’s bag not arriving. In the morning, took a couple of off-road buses northeast across the barren interior on the Kjölur route, calling at the historic Þingvellir rift valley, various waterfalls, hot springs and passing a seemingly endless succession of unbelievably beautiful/dramatic/imposing volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. And rocks. Lots of rocks.

Spent one night in Akureyri on the north coast (the second biggest city, smaller population than Northampton), with a quick trip out to the airport to pick up the errant bag only just flown in from Gatwick via Reykjavík. Then another early morning bus, to Húsavík. Whale museum, whale watching tour, humpbacks and dolphins, puffins, sea-sickness (Kate), sunburn (me). Relaxed with a night in a cosy little cabin overlooking the bay, a geothermal hot tub, and the most beautiful sunset you could hope for.

Next day, a bus to Ásbyrgi and the start of a two-day hike south along the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, camping at Vesturdalur and Dettifoss. Amazing scenery. Just amazing. The photos probably can’t hope to do the variety, scale and gob-smacking weirdness justice. Weather not too bad, but still cloudy, misty, and occasionally rainy. I got a stinking cold just in time for crossing the wind- and rain-swept lava flow west of Dettifoss and camping in the bleakest campsite I’ve experienced. (But I still loved it, of course.)

A morning exploring the virtually indescribable (big! wet! loud!) falls at Dettifoss, fed by the massive Vatnajökull glacier, then a nice warm bus to the tiny town of Reykjahlíð on the shore of Lake Mývatn. Spread out the wet clothes to dry in another cosy cabin, then walked out to the Nature Baths for a couple of hours soaking in the geothermally-heated mineral-blue pools.

The following morning, again climbed onto a bus for another day-long trip across the interior, this time on the Sprengisandur route between huge icecaps to Reykjavík, via another selection of beautiful waterfalls and stunning scenery. One last meal and trip to the pub in Reykjavík, and a quick shopping trip in the morning for Icelandic jumpers and hats before catching the flight home.

(Some of the photos are Kate’s – the captions will tell you which.)