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hieronyma Myvatn - A travel report by Christl
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Myvatn,  Iceland - flag Iceland -  Sudhur-Thingeyjarsysla
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hieronyma's travel reports

Myvatn, Krafla, Dettifoss ... Forces of Nature

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The democratic Republik of Iceland, just below the Arctic Circle, is the most isolated nation of the world. Controlled immigration and protected linguistic heritage guard the specific genetic code and the cultural identity of the country. report of the month contest
Feb 2007

Myvatn, Iceland, Dimmuborgi, The Gate
Myvatn, Iceland, Dimmuborgi, The Gate
Myvatn basin, one of the wonders of the world, sits squarely on the mid-Atlantic Ridge. Its centerpiece is Myvatn ('midges‘) Lake, originated in volcanic activities some 4000 years ago. Here one kind of midges dances, another one bites. The assembly of pseudocraters at Skútustadir at the southend were formed as water below the lava boiled up and exploded in steameruptions. Those dark lava towers at Kaflaströnd on the eastside appear like apparitions of another world. Imagination will abduct you to dream in Dimmuburgi ('black castles‘) with its bizarre pillars, natural arches and caves. Steaming vents, solfartara fields, sulphur-encrusted earth and boiling mud expected me at Námafall. Climbing up Viti ('hell') I didn’t expect a blue maar with comfortable bathing temperature in this huge explosion crater. The Myvatnseldar ('Myvatn fires‘) eruptions of 1729 and 1979-1984 at Krafla north-east of the lake created an awesome lavafield. Most overwhelming is the hike through this area. It’s an impressive landscape, somehow frightening, deserted, without vegetation. I walked cautiously. The ground is dangerously soft, steamning, bubbling. Astonishing lavaformations occur, active fissures like Leirhujúkur, solfataras, steaming vents and finally the Krafla, a level system of fissures above a grat magma chamber, ready to explode. The geothermal fields in the area are used for a powerstation, a cinder-brick factory, for baking bread in an underground oven, for growing potatoes, which unfortunately, when harvested, were already boiled! North-east of Myvatn and Krafla in the Jökulsárgljufur National Park the Jökulsá á Fjöllum runs 30 km through a deep canyon to the sea. More wonders I saw in horseshoe-shaped Ásbyrgi canyon, a forest protected against the wind by high canyon walls and a beautiful romatic lake where I saw a wren, the smallest bird of Iceland. And last not least to mention are the Puffin colonies on Tjörnes Peninsula and Husavik with its pittoresque harbour.

Favourite spots:
Myvatn, Iceland, Krafla
Myvatn, Iceland, Krafla
Flying over almost endless lavafields, where grey-brown, translucent sandstorms drive North the lonely Askja raise up in front of me. Its maar Öskuvatn is still frozen. Southward the Kverkfjöll, a glacier of the Vatnajökul, the source of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum looms. Turning north over enormous lavafields we follow the river, take a roundtrip to the nearly perfect mesa Herdubreid and meet the waterfalls Selfoss, Dettifoss, Hafragilsfoss. Even from the air they look monstrous, dropping down powerfully into a deep, sharp-cut canyon of black basalt in three steps with a proper distance between them. The landscape falls away. Asbyrgi canyon is reached. Lonely farms appear and the mouth of the river. We return to Lake Myvatn and the black cone of the Hverfall, seemingly subsisting only of ash with its huge crater, 1000m in diameter.

What's really great:
Myvatn, Iceland, Krafla
Myvatn, Iceland, Krafla
A tour takes me for a hike along the western side of the three falls of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Selfoss, only 11m high, broad and impressive, astounds. But Dettifoss throws me off balance. 500m³ water in 1 second tumble over the rockwall 44m into the ravine in grey-white watercolumns, throwing spray upon me like raiin. At Hafragilsfoss the water crashes 27m into the Jökulságljufur canyon. Hljódaklettar (‘echoing rocks’) irritate me. The echos are around me, the direction of the roaring river not to decide. Incredible formations of basalt I see: elephant, chicken, rosettes, spirales, caves, the kirkjan (‘church’), where the fairies live, the poor, unwashed children of Adam and Eve, whom God banished into invisibility. Gifted with magic powers they seduce humans, but are mostly good and friendly. The grey and foggy scenery is mysterious. The falls appear, disappear, endangering the human being, creating isolation and loneliness: Nature – a being with its secretive life. Men is trepassing.

Dettifoss, Iceland
Dettifoss, Iceland
- Akureyrikirkja
Interesting interior, beautiful organ

- Nonnahús, Adalstraeti 54
Childhood home of Reverend Jon Sveinsson (1857-1944), burried at Melaten, Cologne, Jesuit, traveller, writer (Nonni and Nanni books), built in 1850, one of Iceland’s best examples of early village dwellings

- Minsasafn Akrureyran (Akureyri Folk Museum), Adalstraeti 58
Information about the time of settlement and christianization, old objects of daily life, a bit too positive, but good, comments in German too

- Friöbjarnahús, Adalstraeti 46
History of the Internationakl Organisation of Good Templars in Iceland, comments only in Icelandic language


- Minasafn Austurlands, cultural museum, Where I visited the last Viking, laid to rest in the small museum


- Church and cemetery, where the laveflow of 1724-1729 stopped and both were saved.

- Touristinformation and the exceptional natural history museum

Hljódaklettar, Iceland, The Church
Hljódaklettar, Iceland, The Church

Gistiheimilid Sulur
Thörumatstraeti 93


Elda 1-4
Guesthouses and campground

Myvatn, Iceland, Kalfarstrandavogar, Lava Tower
Myvatn, Iceland, Kalfarstrandavogar, Lava Tower

Bláa Kannan
Hafnarstraeti 96

Rosagardurinn Restaurant
Hafnarstraeti 87-89


Hotel Reynihlíd
(For eating, sozialising etc.)

Other recommendations:
Hljódklettar, Iceland, The Rosette
Hljódklettar, Iceland, The Rosette
Other recommodation

BSI Travel at the long-distance bus terminal in Reykjavik organised my whole trip and the tours by Elda: Dettifoss Super Tour, Große Myvatntour, Super Tour (Air Sightseeing). I was very content with them.

Myvatn is ideal for hiking, fishing, birdwatching, bicycling, swimming ( when you are courageous enough to take a bath in the Viti).

Ferdathjónustajn Eldá
Highly recommended for tours

Myflug Air Sightseeing
Flightservice Reykjavik, Husavik, Myvatn
See Myflug at the Reykjahlid airstrip


A computer is called „tölva“ from ‚tala‘ (number) and ‚völva‘ (prophet).

There are Lake Balls in the lake, green alges, to play with.

Published on Friday February 16th, 2007

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Wed, Mar 05 2008 - 05:04 PM rating by rmoss

A strange and mysterious land. Interesting to hear that there are some forests in Iceland ... I had always wondered.

Fri, Feb 23 2007 - 03:22 PM rating by magsalex

Lots of information in this report.

Mon, Feb 19 2007 - 12:15 PM rating by marianne

very informtive. Your description reminds me of one of Indonesia's volcanoes. eruptions everywhere

Sat, Feb 17 2007 - 09:51 AM rating by frenchfrog

Great report for what looks like a great country! So many great sites to visit. Thanks for this breath aof fresh air, well done

Fri, Feb 16 2007 - 08:51 PM rating by travler

Soon I won't have to go to Iceland and go fishing with you if you continue to post reports on that country.

Fri, Feb 16 2007 - 08:22 PM rating by mistybleu

A great read.


Fri, Feb 16 2007 - 12:50 PM rating by rangutan

An excellent view and review of real island Iceland!

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