Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mývatn Day 1 - Dimmuborgir

Our first stop in Mývatn was a place called Dimmuborgir, the home of the Yulelads pictured in the last post. I've tried several times to understand how this place was actually formed but can't quite seem really get it, so here is Wikipedia.

"The formation of pseudocraters halted the advance of the lava in some places creating temporal lava lakes. The lava eventually drained from the lakes, leaving behind a forest of rock pillars." There was a light snow when we got out of the car and took an hour long hike through these eery rock formations. I feel like some of these photos just don't do this place justice. There were hundreds of little caves and crevices all over the place. One expected hidden people, Yulelads, or aliens to appear at any moment. Speaking of hidden persons...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Escape from Hrisey

After a rather unsuccessful attempt to acquire groceries and supplies (read: booze) from the mainland, we had started to realize Hrisey was a bit like the Hotel California. "You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave." After a bit of planning, acquiring a 7 AM ride to Akureyri from our friend Juli, we managed to get out of Hrisey and onto the mainland for a road trip to a large national park, Myvatn. After navigating some snow covered mountain roads, we arrived at our first stop Gothafoss. A waterfall that in hindsight was not nearly as spectacular as some of the dozen or so we saw over the course of the month. Here, our housemates and road trip companions, Alex and Kimmie, hang out in front of Gothafoss. After an hour or so of driving from Gothafoss, we arrived at Myvatn. A huge lake that happened to be frozen over. There are many amazing geological/natural sites surrounding the lake. Craters, volcanoes, geothermal vents, geothermal pools, pseudo craters, and unbelievable rock formations. But that is all for another post. I leave you with the Yulelads. So these rather terrifying guys on the left are three of the 13 "yulelads," Icelander's version of Santa Claus. The story is they were born at Dimmuborgir, a site of crazy rock formations in Myvatn. They escaped from their mother (a witch) and now bring presents or potatoes to children on Christmas. I'm not sure exactly of the mythology, but they all have different "purposes." One of them seems to carry binoculars and peer into windows at night? Also, I sent my sister a really terrifying Christmas cards of one of these fellows with blood on his nose. Quite terrifying, indeed.