A Travellerspoint blog

Grábrókargígar, Krauma, Barnafoss, and back to Reykjavik

Craters, steam & waterfalls

semi-overcast -3 °C
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We started the day with a hike around the Grábrókargígar (Grábrók crater). Lots of steps! but interesting views.
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Then some more geothermal activity
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And Barnafoss (foss = waterfall)
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Oops, we had a flat!
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So, while we (18 of us) ate lunch and hung out in Borgarbyggð, Gumy (spelling?), our guide & driver dealt with the tire. Yummy pepperoni pizza. We also bought six beer, but then forgot them on the bus at drop off.
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Finally it was back to our hotel. We had dinner and strolled around. Steve looked with envy at the large whale-watching tour boat that had inside areas…unlike ours from the previous day.
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Posted by Deb Godley 15:03 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Tidbits on Iceland


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Many of our photos show a relatively barren landscape with few trees. The trees that are there tend to be short and look planted rather than a natural forest. Farmers tend to plant a row or two of Icelandic birch between the house and the snow covered hill or mountain behind it. This row of trees provides some protection from avalanches. Trees are also added for wind break around the house and other buildings.
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The mountains with the most frequent avalanches have rows of fencing to reduce likelihood and impact of avalanches on the houses and fields below.
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There is a joke here that if you are lost in the woods, just stand up :)
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The growing season is very short and the sheep and cattle are kept inside during the 6 months or so of winter. Here in April, we saw the remaining bundles needed to last through the next month or so, the hay is bundled while wet and stored in big piles of the plastic covered 1/2 ton bales. The remaining supply at this farm is in the blueish coloured bundles to the left.
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Naming conventions in Iceland (our understanding of it):
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Reykjavik = Bay of smoke

Vik = Bay

Egilsstaðir = Place of Egili - name of first known farmer in area

Höfn = Harbour

Dalvik: Dal = valley, Vik = bay

Akureyri = Sand bank field (eyri = island or tip of land jutting into the sea)

Siglufjörður: Siglu = sailing, fjordor = fjord

Mývatn: My = midge, gnat, vatn = water

For naming children, they follow three rules per the naming laws:

- The name can not cause harm or difficulty to the child
- Boys must be named male names and girls must be named female names.
- The name must be able to follow Icelandic grammar rules and adjustments.

For the last name, if the father of a child is Kristján, the baby will be Kristjánsson if it is a boy or Kristjánssdóttir if it is a girl

In 2010 the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted, famously creating havoc and grounding flights all over Europe. Icelanders enjoyed listening to international broadcasters around the world attempting to pronounce the name of the volcano. In the US, broadcasters started calling it E15 - a word that starts with an E and is followed by 15 letters.

Here’s how to break it down:

Eyjafjallajökull

Eyja= island, fjalla=mountain, Jökull=glacier

(AY-yah-fyad-layer-kuh-tel)

Posted by Deb Godley 14:24 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Whale watching, Siglufjörður, Tröllaskagi

Tour day 5

semi-overcast -3 °C
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Started the day with a whale watching boat tour. We were wearing our thermals and jackets and the snazzy red jumpsuits, but it was still bitter cold. We paced around the deck trying to stay warm, which did help a small amount. Luckily our 3-tour boat wasn’t the Minnow, so arrived back safe and sound. The whale poster shows the Minke whale we saw - probably a common one.

The boat operators kept talking about how shy the whales are. All in all, I don’t think the about (5 seconds) sightings were worth how cold we were in the boat.

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In the afternoon we stopped for lunch and a walk around in Siglufjörður, a smaller former herring town, and also the setting for the suspense books by Ragnar Jónasson (1st in the series: Snow Blind). Very pretty little town.
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Views from the boat (not many; it was too cold to have the gloves off for more than a second or two. All in all, the minimal sightings were not worth the 3 hours of freezing our butts off.
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The end of the afternoon was spent driving around the Tröllaskagi peninsula with some views from the bus.
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And a look at the “elephant” rock. We had trouble seeing the elephant, but thought it could be a Rhino taking a drink.
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A decent variety of dinner choices and good company of our tour mates for our last dinner together.

Posted by Deb Godley 11:09 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Thermal soak, snowy hike

Tour day 4


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The thermal baths at Mývatn were lovely and warm, even as the snow fell and stuck to Steve’s bald head. There was even a swim up bar.

Námaskarð Reminded us of the sulphur odour and constant steam at Yellowstone.

Thermal activity at Námaskarð
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Mývatn hot springs:
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Wash first…
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Hiking to the devil’s cave and the cave of the Yule men -Iceland’s version of the boogeyman. One of the pics has the explanation of the myth and pi’s of the evil trolls who spread their daily evil from Dec 11-23. A sort of negative advent calendar, sometimes treats and other times punishment for bad behaviour.
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Overnighted in Akureyri, the largest town outside Reykjavik. No northern lights-the forecast was favourable but didn’t happen. Maybe on Thursday.

Posted by Deb Godley 12:57 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Mostly driving, snow, and cancelled hike

Day 3

snow -3 °C
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The plan was for intermittent driving all day, followed by a 3-hour hike (round trip) to a waterfall. However, the driver had to go slower and adjust the route due to snow conditions. By the time we arrived at our hotel, it was already 5pm. Our guide invited hearty and determined (and only the most experienced with the best gear) to continue with the hike.

We opted for happy hour and dinner with a walk around Egilsstaðir.

So our photos are mostly views from the bus, as well as our lunch and dinner stops.

While we were having our happy hour Boli, the snow was getting heavier. Luckily we could drown our worries in beer. We later learned that the hiker wannabes didn’t make it very far.

Views of and from the bus (can you see the reindeer in the pic out the opposite window?):
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Lunch in Djúpivogur
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View of the lake from the happy hour lounge at Gistihúsið
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And our meal at the Salt Cafe
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Posted by Deb Godley 07:38 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

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