One way to keep warm! Probably just as well you can’t smell this photo – rotten egg odour from hydrogen sulphide in the steam coming out of the rocks at Namaskard.
I had been worried that our four nights spent at Lake Myvatn (translates to Lake Midge!) would be spent covering ourselves in insect repellent. In fact the weather has been so cold, wet and windy that the little pests haven’t troubled us at all. Of course the downside is that we wake up this morning and have yet another day of awful weather to contend with. A day of exploring the natural wonders of the lake awaits us!
First stop is the volcanic crater “Viti”, one of the results of volcanic activity from the Krafla mountain. Meaning “hell” it was formed in an eruption in 1724 and a lake has formed within the crater. It says in my guidebook:
On a clear day, the water is a stunning shade of cobalt blue and the walk around the crater rim, taking about 45 minutes, lets you appreciate its beauty from all angles
Hmmm! Well obviously it isn’t a clear day today; in fact it is so foggy up here that we peer over the edge and can’t even see any water. The cold wind is so fierce it is difficult to walk and we therefore spend precisely one minute “appreciating its beauty” before scrambling back to the car, our boots completely caked in volcanic mud! We sit for a few minutes laughing at a succession of tour buses drawing up, the contents of which spill out, walk 10 feet to the crater and then stagger back again, doubtless, like us, ticking “Viti” off their list of “must sees” as a job done and probably planning to buy a nice postcard of the crater so they can wax lyrical to friends back home about the “stunning shade of cobalt blue”!
The rain eases off down the mountain so we head for Leirhnukir to do a half hour walk across the lava fields to see the stinky mud pools! Son is cold and miserable at this point but like any other mother I tell him the walk back will be much easier as the wind will be behind him! On our return I notice there is a toilet in the car park. Have visions of this being like a loo in Britain when you’re in the middle of nowhere…..wading across a wet floor, hovering over the porcelain and only noticing too late that there’s no paper! But this is Iceland and inside this little hut is a clean loo with ample paper, clean floor and….and…..and….A HEATER! Decide I could quite happily stay locked up here for the rest of the day but, having prevaricated long enough, have to come out eventually to let someone else enjoy the experience! The rest of the day steadily improves. Some sulphurous mud-pools at Namaskard, a spooky walk through bizarre lava formations at Dimmuborgir, amazing pseudo-craters in Lake Myvatn and a delicious burger and chips in a cosy caff at Skutustadir!