June 5: Höfn to Mývatn
This morning we were up before our alarm. I tried to take a timelapse video overnight of what it looks like when the sun goes down but the GoPro did not cooperate.
We had breakfast in the hotel again. This time there were no hot dishes but Trish thinks they must have had a hidden camera on the spread because the second something ran out, a person would appear with replacements!
Our first stop of the day was just outside Höfn, only about 20 minutes away: The Viking Villiage and Café. I’m not 100% sure what the full story is, but someone (the farmer who owns the land? a defunct production company?) built a Viking village to use as a movie set, but no movie was ever made!
I actually recommend skipping the village. It’s in pretty poor repair and there’s not much to see.
However, I highly recommend this stop for the seal watching, hiking, and black sand beaches!
Trish and I really enjoyed climbing out along the rocks to see the seals, who were fat and lazy on the sunny rocks.
After clambouring around, we headed to the black sand beach and practically had the whole place to ourselves!
The road down to the seals and the beach passes by these unusual hillocks. Once the sun got high enough in the sky to start baking down, the moist sands around them started to steam.
This stop (everything but the Viking village) was far more interesting than I anticipated, so we ended up spending a good hour wandering around. After that, we pressed on again. We stopped for lunch and gas in Djúpivogur, a small fishing village on the eastern coast.
We went to Við Voginn for lunch.
I had excellent fish and chips and Trish had “Chicken Bread” (chicken and mushrooms on a slice of sourdough).
Trish has been at war with the Icelandic gas pumps. So far she’s 0 for 3. The first one she tried to use she accidentally set for Icelandic instead of English. The second one wouldn’t take her credit card. This one didn’t automatically shut off and covered her hand in gasoline. We drove with the windows down for a while after that…
Much of today’s drive was along the East Fjords. I think it was National Seafarers Day, but we didn’t see any of the festivals or celebrations the guidebook promised. Maybe it’s because we didn’t turn off the Ring Road.
Part of our drive was narrated by a Smart Audio guide (though it’s slightly confusing because our route keeps taking us on the tours backwards). The guide mentioned the unique mineral collection in Stöðvarfjörður that is a woman’s lifetime work. It’s one of the most extensive private collections in the world. We drove past and got a peek at the outside exhibit, but pressed onward.
The last sign of civilization for a while was Egilsstaðir, so we stopped at Skálinn Diner (an inexplicably 1950s American style diner) for a cup of coffee and a bathroom break.
After that, we drove for another hour and a half through beautiful nothing.
For the next two nights, we’re staying at Vogafjós Farm Resort in Mývatn. It’s a working dairy and sheep farm with a nice restaurant. We checked in at the main building. The woman showed me a very simple map explaining how to get to the guest cabins but somehow I got it wrong…
We temporarily gave up on finding our room and headed straight for the Mývatn Nature Baths, the Blue Lagoon of the North. It has the same mineral-rich blue waters but fewer frills.
The locker rooms are NOT set up with a good workflow. I’m still not 100% sure what they were thinking. Also, I seriously underestimated how nice Sky Lagoon’s setup is that you never actually have to walk outside from the changing rooms to the lagoon. There, the ramp down is inside and you don’t turn the corner into the outside world till you are fully immersed in the warm water. At Mývatn Nature Baths you have to leave the changing room, wet from the shower, and walk about 20 feet to the ramp. Also, you have to leave the changing room through the showers, so we didn’t think to bring our towels or robes with us to the tables/chairs outside. Trish was a hero when we left and fetched my towel outside.
The water felt nice, but if I was going to go back to one it would be Sky Lagoon.
After a soak, we returned to the hotel reception desk and Trish got the correct directions to our room.
Before dinner, we said hello to the dairy cows and calves.
The dining room has views of the cow barn and sheep pasture. It’s a little macabre with burgers and lamb on the menu but… dinner was extremely good.
After dinner, we said goodnight to the calves as well.