Iceland Day 5: Chasing Waterfalls

Blönduós – Lake Mývatn

Getting out of my toasty cabin bed was an enormous struggle, but I felt immensely grateful for a proper night sleep and was ready to take on the day; which, we soon found out, would be a repeat of the past four, weather-wise. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever see the sun again.

After breakfast, I decided it was about time we gave the Jimny a little TLC. I was also keen to minimise the risk of accidentally driving off a cliff, or over some poor hitchhiker; due to the thick layer of dirt that now coated the entire car and was dangerously obscuring our vision.

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Armed with a bottle of water and kitchen cloth, I haphazardly wiped down the filthy glass, numbing my fingers in the process. Once satisfied that we would survive another day, we packed up and hit the road.

For the first time since landing in Iceland, we had vaguely planned a destination with number of exciting stops along the way. First on the agenda, was the little-known waterfall, Reykjafoss, which we found on a mobile app called maps.me.

The waterfall only required a relatively short detour off Route 1, and a fumble along a few country lanes into some rural farmland. As far as Icelandic waterfalls go, it is probably deemed rather insignificant by locals; but to a couple of nature-starved Brits, we thought we’d hit the jackpot.

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Jim was not impressed by my eagerness to get as close to the edge as physically possible, so naturally, I pretended I couldn’t hear his objections over the roar of the cascading water.

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Later, we passed through the city of Akureyri, stopping only to refuel and resupply in Bónus.

Two things struck me about this place; one being that there were traffic lights, something we hadn’t encountered in about four days, briefly causing us to question our driving abilities in a moment of unwelcome discombobulation; and the second being that on closer inspection, the red lights were heart shaped. This only caused us further confusion.

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Further along the Ring Road, we were to experience our first ‘proper’ Icelandic waterfall. By ‘proper’, I mean that it was clearly mapped, signposted and on arrival, had a purpose built car park, full to the brim with selfie stick wielding maniacs.

By this point, the weather had once more, taken a turn for the worse. So much so, that I was forced to crack out my waterproof trousers (which turned out to be a little on the short side) and half obscure my head with my Buff, bobble hat and an assemblage of hoods, in a bid to keep the icy wind off my overly sensitive face. I looked like a giant, obnoxious berry.

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I love this picture of Jim; he looks like a dissatisfied fisherman.

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“Thou shalt have a fishy on a little dishy”

Anyway, enough about our attire. The waterfall in question is called Goðafoss, or, waterfall of the gods. I could instantly see why it was considered one of Iceland’s most spectacular waterfalls. Spanning 30 metres across, the river Skjálfandafljót tumbles 12 metres over its rocky edge, creating an unsettling torrent of churning water and spray below.

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I edged ever closer and was taken aback by its sheer force; the rumbling sound flooded my ears and the fine mist flooded my eyes, politely reminding me just how powerful nature truly is. I loved that despite the bleak, grey surroundings, its waters somehow remained a beautiful, clear blue colour.

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We stuck around for as long as we could, but the wind, rain and sea of selfie sticks soon began to take their toll, and the warm sanctuary of the Jimny beckoned.

We drove on to Lake Mývatn, which we could smell before we could actually see, due to its volcanic activity. It’s a beautiful area, famed for its birdlife, geology and appearance in Game of Thrones. By now, however, we were less than enthused about traipsing around these cold, wet, eggy lands.

Our morale had plummeted with the temperature, and I spied the odd snowflake amidst the drizzle. After a bit of bickering over where we should stay (Jim, being the hardy outdoorsman he is, wanted to camp), I successfully landed us a twin room in one of the most impeccable hostels I’ve ever stayed in.

This is when we realised just how severe the weather conditions we had been experiencing over the past few days, really were. The notice board in reception was plastered with warnings, charts and advisories against all travel. We had somehow driven and camped through all of it.

This news, paired with the receptionist’s predictions that the temperature would be dropping below freezing that night, was enough to thaw out Jim’s resistance to a second night indoors, and he was soon napping blissfully, whilst I skulked off for a hot, smug shower.

Overnight: 
Vogar Travel Service

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