Lake Myvatn is a large shallow lake in northern Iceland created by a volcanic eruption 2300 years ago. The surrounding scenery is also derived from the eruption, with pillars of lava in Dimmuborgir and pseudo craters along the coast line formed by localized steam eruptions from the volcanic activity below.
We wandered through the maze of lava formations of Dimmuborgir on our drive around the rim of the lake.
Icelanders harness the geothermal energy of the still active Krafla volcano, near the Lake Myvatn region. Iceland uses only renewable energy sources to supply power for the entire country. The turquoise water in the crater collection is the geothermal waste water.
We spent the evening enjoying the arctic blue waters of the Lake Myvatn nature baths. The alkaline baths’ high sulfur content is great for skin care and the warm temperatures provide a spa-like atmosphere perfect for soaking. You can relax with a Viking beer in the steamy baths, while overlooking the surrounding mountains and lake. The view is a feast for the eyes.
The next morning, we made our way to the Glaumbaer turf farm museum, where visitors can learn about life in the traditional Icelandic shelters of mud and grass. The homes were normally structured around a single tunneled hallway with rooms jutting out each side. Given the long winters and short growing season, food storage occupied a good number of the rooms.
On our way back to Reykjavik, we stopped at the Grábróck volcanic crater, where we hiked to the rim to enjoy the spectacular 360 degree views. We also visited the Icelandic Settlement Center in Borgarnes to learn about the well documented history of how the island became inhabited. The Nordic vikings must have been a tough crew to survive the horrendous winter conditions of Iceland.
We spent our last night in Reykjavik being total tourists as we took a sojourn to the Blue Lagoon, another of Iceland’s famous hot springs. The lagoon was quite expensive and populated, but the sky blue warm waters and silica mud mask were well worth it.
As we drove back into town from the Blue Lagoon, the sun appeared to be setting over the rolling, moss covered lava beds. Despite the nearly 24 hour daylight during our stay, the sky maintained an eerie grey the whole time. It was the first time all week that the sun’s rays were visible, sending whisks of peach, rose, and violet across the sky. It was the ideal culmination of a week’s explorations around Iceland.