My fifth stop was in Eskifjördur, town and port with a large fish industry. Tons of fishes per day are being processed here.
I didn't know all that before meeting some local workers in the guest house. I don't recall the exact number, but it was a double digit figure. Per day!
That guest house had also some nice equipment, including a sauna and an old boat transformed into a Jacuzzi, out in the open. At first I wasn't interested by any of it. And then, after a long day and drive, the fatigue kicked in and I started to feel a bit cold. That's when I realized that I could use some sauna. I didn't try one before, and I have to say, it was nice.
450m above sea level. 118m tall. Hengifoss is one of the highest waterfalls of the country. It drops into a gorgeous gorge, and if you are lucky enough, when there isn't too much water in the river, you can go behind the waterfall and discover the cave that it had created.
Beneath it, there are sedimentary rocks about hundred meters thick. And what is interesting is that in the upper layers, carbonized trunks, branches and traces of plants can be found.
This is quite an impressive site. Eyes, ears, nose, almost all the senses are experiencing it. 1000 meters under ground the temperature is above 200°C and the soil is unsafe. The fumaroles gas are composed of hydrogen sulfide, hence the strong smell of the hot springs. They create a large amount of sulfur deposits. Sulfur was once used for gun powder in Iceland.
Waring: when you play the fumarole video, lower the volume first, the sound will be very loud, this thing is under pressure, like a cooker. And lucky you, you won't have the smell.
Right next to the guesthouse, was this nice cowshed farm and restaurant. The place was literally crowded when I went for dinner, which was a good sign. And indeed it was.
The food was incredible; almost everything produced locally and homemade. For example the bread was cooked outside, beneath the ground. Earth oven is a pit in the ground where heat is trapped, allowing to bake, smoke or steam food. I asked the waitress if we could see the cooking process but unfortunately it was not possible.
A few kilometers north Mývatn, approximately 40 minutes drive, there is Húsavík, starting point to go to say hi to Mrs and M. Whale. From there you'll embark for a 3h trip under cold wind. But seeing the giant creatures take a slow dip, almost like in slow motion, will warm you up.
We even had the chance to watch them feeding, with their bubble hunting technique. They either create a big bubble or a cloud of small ones to disturb fish.
Krafla volcano system created a big caldera. The last eruption was in 1984.
There, several walking paths will lead you to Leirhnúkur volcano, with bright colours rocks and impressive cold lava flow and geothermic activity.
And most notably, at the bottom of Krafla, lies one of the two most famous Víti crater of Iceland. Víti meaning hell. And inside hell you'll find a stunning lake, with incredible blue, azure, emerald colours.
They look like craters. You'd think they are craters. But they are not. Located in Lake Mývatn area, they are a landform that is the result steam explosion of hot magma flowing over a wet surface. It is not a true crater because there is no vent from which the lava has erupted. There is no magma conduit beneath.
Note: this phenomenon also appears on Mars.
Note 2: back to Earth, if you are a bird lover, this place is for you.
There is so much to see around Mývatn that I stayed there for another day. Well, only another morning actually, as I had to go to Akureyri to catch a flight to Reykjavik early in the afternoon.
So on the way to the airport, I made one last stop, to say hi and goodbye to the Gods. That's right. At Godafoss, or in proper Icelandic: Goðafoss.
That waterfall got its name in 999 or 1000, when Christianity got proclaimed the official religion of Iceland by Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði at the Alþingi (Althingi or Althing in English), the Icelandic parliament. He then threw all his Norse Gods statues in the waterfall upon his return.
I arrived in the capital in the middle of the afternoon. And I had to leave at 10 in the evening to go the airport, for a night flight to Paris. Even though it was a really short stay, I think I managed to see quite some things. A museum, an open air exhibition, the city centre and a ton of street-art.
Obviously I need to go back there, but lets enjoy the memories for now.
This was quite an interesting visit. By the time I saw all the sculptures in the garden surrounding the building it was almost closing time when I set to visit the inside. But the guide was kind enough to let me in and even take me on a guided tour.
Ásmundur was interested in people, their daily life and activity. He was also highly interested in depicting love, love of a mother to his child, love of couples, but also love shared by a family.
His early work was figurative, his academic background was showing. But then his style evolved toward more abstract work, as he was influenced by other artists, technology and worldwide events. At the end of his life, scientific missions as the ones led by the NASA inspired him greatly. As a result themes and materials changed.
Note: The ticket includes the visit of 3 other museums in Reykjavik.
As usual with street-art, I don't set to go out and chase them, I just tend to keep an eye out as I walk the streets. And wouaw, was I rewarded. To be frank I didn't expect that many, and I'm sure there are plenty more that I didn't had time to discover. As I learned a bit later, Reykjavik is a city full of artists, and it shows.