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It was pouring with rain when we woke up in Brekka this morning, so we had a slightly damp stroll from our room to the main building where breakfast was served. The highlight of today's breakfast buffet was waffles, and there were also some very nice little twisted doughnuts, which I think are an Icelandic speciality We had to start the day by retracing some of our route from yesterday, back in the direction of lake Mývatn. Lake Mývatn is a volcanic lake, formed from a flooded lava field. As a result it's a very shallow lake - not more than 4.5 metres deep at its deepest point - and there are lots of little islands in the middle of it. Our first stop was a place called Skútustaðir alongside the lake. Skútustaðir is home to a collection of pseudocraters, which look like volcanic craters but are formed when hot lava flows across a wet surface, causing gases to explode. The result is a slightly strange bumpy landscape like this. It was interesting to walk around and we got some great views of the lake, but the one downside was the flies. In Icelandic, Mývatn means "midge lake", and although we weren't here during the main midge season, we could definitely tell how it got that name! The midges don't bite, but they were still pretty annoying! We didn't stay too long at Skútustaðir, driving on to another parking place a little further round the lake. There were some interesting rock formations here. I liked this rock which looked like a pillar There were lots of paths we could have walked on here but the flies were a bit overwhelming, so we carried on a bit further round the Ring Road to a place called Hverfjall. The guidebook says that Hverfjall is a tephra cone, but I have no idea what that means It's basically a big black volcanic crater which looks like this. Hverfjall is about 420 metres high, and there's a rather steep path you can follow from the car park to the top. This is a photo of me looking slightly tired on the way up. And this is me with the crater once I got to the top It's very big and black! You can follow a path all the way around the rim, but we decided not to go the whole way round in the end (it was about 3km), because we figured the view would get pretty samey. There were some good views of the lake from up here though... ...and some good views of the surrounding countryside too. Best of all, we were now high enough to avoid the midges! The weather had dried up temporarily, but it felt like it might be going to start raining again, so we set off back down the rather steep path. Our next stop was just around the corner: Dimmuborgir. Dimmuborgir is an area of unusually-shaped lava rock formations. There was a series of signposted trails to follow in between the rocks. My favourites were these two with the unusual holes. Half an hour or so drive from the lake, we came to today's waterfall: Goðafoss In Icelandic, the name literally means "waterfall of the gods". Around the year 999, Iceland's parliament made the decision that the country would convert to Christianity. According to legend, on his way back from making this decision, one of the local rulers flung all his statues of Norse gods into the waterfall, giving it its name. It's a really beautiful waterfall anyway There are car parks on both sides of the falls and - unlike at Dettifoss - a bridge you can walk over to get from one side of the canyon to the other. As we were making our way towards that, we found that there was another, smaller waterfall, a little further down the same river. This was Geitafoss. We climbed down to a viewpoint beside it, and someone took a picture for us Then we continued along by the river and across the footbridge to the other side of the falls. The views from this side were really great It's hard to pick a favourite waterfall on this holiday, but Goðafoss is definitely in the running. Our next stop after the waterfall was the town of Akureyri, Iceland's second city. It's situated in a really beautiful location, at the end of the Eyjafjörður fjord, and we could see the town looming in the distance from quite a long way away. When we arrived in the town and found a parking space, we realised that the front of our car had turned into a midge massacre We were able to park in an extremely scenic part of town, overlooking the fjord. The hotel we're staying in tonight is quite remote, so we took advantage of being in a large place to have a big meal. When I say "a large place", the population of Akureyri is actually only 18,800, so it's not exactly a metropolis by UK standards We strolled around the seafront for a while and caught sight of the main church in the distance. This is the Akureyrarkirkja, which was designed by the same person as the enormous Hallgrímskirkja we saw in Reykjavik last week. The prettiest building in town was this bright blue one, which serves as a cafe. We had another 80 miles or so to cover before we reached our hotel for the night, which is near the small settlement of Blönduós in the northwest of Iceland. It was a scenic drive, which took us through a valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains. At £143 for the night, this is our most expensive hotel room of the trip; I think because of scarcity of accommodation in this part of Iceland, although it is quite a nice room The hotel is in a very rural location, by the side of a small lake, and there aren't too many midges here All in all it's been another very exciting day in Iceland!
We had a leisurely start to the morning in our apartment. It was a beautifully sunny day, so we enjoyed a stroll around Seyðisfjörður before we set off on our travels once again. The water in the fjord was so clear that we could see an almost perfect reflection of the buildings. I really loved the colour of this blue house The town is in a really stunning location. In places we could even still see a little bit of snow on the mountain tops In fact we could see the mountains reflected in the water too Once we'd done a circuit of the town, we got in the car for another fairly long day of driving. First stop was to go back over the mountain pass and down to Egilsstaðir. From there, we rejoined the Ring Road and began to head north. The landscape became a bit gentler for a while. We stopped at a viewpoint by a river... ...then drove through a landscape of small bumpy hills.... ...before catching sight of what looked like quite an impressive waterfall from the road. We parked and climbed up a little footpath towards it. You can hopefully just make out the beautiful rainbows in the photo There was a lot of heather growing here, which was really pretty. This Icelandic sheep seemed to be enjoying it too Then we were on our way again, and our surroundings began to look more mountainous. As we got closer towards Dettifoss - the waterfall which was going to be our first main destination of the day - things began to look rather black and barren, in fact. It also began to feel really windy, as we realised once we got out of the car to take pictures. The road took led up past these mountains... ...and then finally we saw the turn-off we needed, down a side road towards Dettifoss. There is a choice of two roads which you can take to Dettifoss; one goes down the western side of the falls and one down the eastern. We took the western road, which I'd read in the guidebook was well-surfaced and easy to drive on As we drove along it, our surroundings became increasingly rocky. We parked at the carpark (parking was free here) and it looked even rockier! We followed the path for a kilometre or so before we got our first glimpse of water. Eventually we rounded a corner and got our first proper view of Dettifoss. Wow! We watched the waterfall from a viewpoint to the side first of all. There were barriers in place to stop you getting too close to the edge, although some people obviously thought it was worth ignoring them to get a better photo! This was as close as we were going Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The spray coming up from the water was incredible. One of the things I hadn't expected was to be able to see so many rainbows here. They were really beautiful There were various different viewpoints you could walk to to see the falls from different angles. The paths were all quite dry here, which made it easier to explore. The wind was incredibly strong though, as you can probably tell from my hair A final look at the rainbows, and then it was time to head off to our next destination Our next destination was supposed to be a place called Krafla. We rejoined the Ring Road and continued along it, looking for the Krafla turn-off, when suddenly we caught sight of a mountain with steam coming out of it 😮 This is the geothermal area of Hverir, which I had somehow omitted to build into our itinerary There were pools of boiling mud... ...and chimneys emitting sulphuric steam. The smell was worse than the sulphuric water in our bathroom in Reykjavik The turning for Krafla was only just around the corner, so we arrived there soon afterwards. There is a volcanic crater here, with a bright blue lake inside it. There's a walking trail all around the rim of the crater. This part of Iceland is quieter than the south, so we didn't have to share it with many other people. The crater lake was a gorgeous colour. There were some good views of the surrounding countryside from the higher points of the walk as well. We could see as far as Lake Myvatn, which is on our itinerary to visit tomorrow. The path led through a small area of volcanic activity. There were clear signs showing where you could and couldn't walk. You definitely wouldn't want to walk here; the earth was literally scorched! At one point we had to jump over a stream, which I wasn't terribly happy about! We then came round to a second, smaller crater lake.... ...before climbing back up above the main lake once again. One last look at the view, and then it was time to search for tonight's accommodation That took slightly longer than expected, as one of the roads that we needed was closed. We got there in the end though; a small guesthouse in the middle of nowhere. Our room, which cost about £130, is in one of these wooden buildings. It's a nice spacious room, and we've got breakfast included tomorrow which is a bonus It's been another amazing day in Iceland and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Well, maybe a bit less wind would have been good