Iceland - Day 5

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Today we wakened to some sun, but that quickly gave way to fog. The clothes we had washed and hung outside were still wet, but those we placed on the radiators were mostly dry. We went to breakfast hoping the fog would roll back out, but it did not.

We left the hotel at about 10 AM (Eric, June, Marie and Liz were just starting a tour) and we drove north through the fog to Hofsós. We could see the mountains and sea at times, although mostly visibility was extremely limited. We crossed the mountain pass, saw some sheep, had a 5-minute window in the fog - and the kids had a snowball fight! But mostly our view of the spectacular mountains was non-existent. We drove through the town of Ólafsfjörður, where we saw kids in ski jackets and wool hats practicing soccer.

Akureyri Botanical Garden



Rainbow at Goðafoss

Sunset near Mývatn

When we left the town we entered a 3.4 km tunnel under the mountain - one lane! Oncoming traffic could pull off on the sides at intervals to let opposing traffic pass. That was an experience - not for the claustrophobic!

We continued to Dalvík, where we looked for the bird sanctuary but if it was marked we missed it. As we approached Akureyri the sky began to clear. The lack of guardrails and the sheer drops from the highway were sobering!

When we arrived in Akureyri we tried to find a laundromat to dry the clothes. A man and woman on the street were extremely helpful, but we succeeded only in finding a dry cleaner - I think - who took our wet laundry and dried it for only 400 K (about $6USD). We were told it would be finished at 5PM, so we took our picnic lunch and ate in the car next to the Botanical Gardens. It was a bit chilly to eat outside.

After lunch we entered the Gardens, which contains species of all plants native to Iceland, as well as plants from other high-latitude, high-altitude regions around the world. There are even plants from places like New Zealand and Spain. What I found so remarkable is that all these plants are outdoors year round. It was a lovely, tranquil spot. After about an hour, James, Pat and the girls came in, so we had a nice chat while the kids played cards on the grass near the pond.

We gathered our laundry and left Akureyri shortly after 5 PM. We almost missed Goðafoss ("waterfall of the gods") - that would have been a shame! These falls are easy to visit, since there is no hiking and just a few yards' walk. What a magnificent view! We walked along the river to see several lesser falls and a pretty rainbow.

Then on to Lake Mývatn and the Lykilhótel. What a disappointment that was! Tiny rooms (ours didn't even have a chair to go with the desk) and the kids' room was supposed to be a triple but there were only two beds in it. We had to stack a small table onto a dresser so that we could get enough floor space to put a foam mattress on, for one of the kids to sleep. Dinner was a disappointment as well. The waitress took our order from the menu, only to return some time later to tell us that several of the items were not available. The food itself was not memorable. And finally, we didn't realize that the name Mývatn means "midge lake," after a kind of tiny fly, which were visible as columnar swarms maybe 10 feet high. We also found thousands of them, dead (thank goodness!) by all the windowsills. We didn't dare open the windows or we'd let them in. And this would be our accommodation for two nights…

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