Thursday, October 07, 2010

Ring Road Day 4: Námafjall and Dettifoss

This day is a little more manageable but includes two majorly impressive sights!

We drove from Húsavík back to the Mývatn area and stopped at what sounded awesome: Námafjall is an area of geothermal mud pits that sits on the increasingly widening fissure of the separating continental plates. This description did not disappoint. Some of the fissures in the ground go down 1500 meters and have 200-degree Celsius chemicals bubbling out of them. Acidity in the water of these pits creates the mud, as it slowly eats away at the outer layers of the pits, creating even more mud.

From here we drove to Dettifoss, the waterfall with the most volume flowing over it in all of Europe! It sneaks up on you after you drive for miles through through this barren wasteland-like field, and then walk for quite some time through lifeless piles of giant rocks, but then BAM.

You can get so close to nature here. In America, I think every natural sight worth seeing has a fence around it, and a concrete wall that you're forced to pay some toll/parking/tourist booth/security station for the privilege of seeing some Nature. But here, you're left to your own devices, like discovering some quicksand, clamboring across rocky precipices, or falling over a cliff to your demise ('cept that last one didn't happen).

We drove through more 'interior' of Iceland, which essentially is a desert- it's colder here, very little grows, though there are reindeer-crossing signs. We saw one reindeer on our way back home, too! There's a community as you drive toward Egilsstaðir with a whole lodge devoted to reindeer-inspired meetings.

We drove past the commerce town of Egilsstaðir and some weird American-looking homes (built pre-kreppa, perhaps, they look out of place and American Dream-y) and onto the delightful little town of Seyðisfjörður, nestled in the valley on the East Coast fjords. The hostel was in an old Hospital, but I thought this was kind of awesome! It still looked like a hospital inside- the floors were squeaky clean and I slid around on them, and the rooms and hallways were huge with giant windows.

Good night Seyðisfjörður, we'll see you briefly in the morning, and then we're off again.

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