Monday, May 18, 2015

Iceland - Day 7

May 18, 2015

We woke early and started the morning heading to Helgustaðanáma, an abandonded spar mine. Icelandic spar is a form of calcite used to split/polarize light. The largest specimen collected weighed 220 kg and is on display at the British Natural History Museum.

Apparently there is actually a tunnel behind this snow! We had no idea!

From there, we headed up through the Oddskarð pass. It is one of the highest roads in Iceland, outside of the highlands and was pretty nerve wracking. At the top, you go through a tunnel which is even worse.

Its one lane!!!

But, it was beautiful on the other side and worth the drive (both ways)!

Past the town of Neskaupstaður, there is a nature reserve home to the beautiful Páskahellir, or Easter Cave. It is pretty spectacular to see how the ocean has carved out the cave over time. The lava rocks round the cave are dotted with quartz crystals and geodes.

On another long driving day, we headed inland, around the Lagarfljót which is home to a mythical monster kin to the Loch Ness Monster and Iceland's largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur. The lake was some of the ugliest water we saw in Iceland.

 At the southern tip of the lake, there is a hike up to Hengifoss, passing several other falls on the way.

Litlanesfoss with some of the tallest basalt columns in Iceland

After circumnavigating Lagarfljót, we headed up to the northeastern most portion of the East Fjords. The drive was treacherous and scary. Seriously.

But, once we got there, we headed out to Hafnarhólmi to see the puffins! They were adorable and super curious.

They nest in the little holes under the rocks that are under the grass.

We spent the night at Guesthouse Blabjorg and had a wonderful (all-you-can-eat) fish soup dinner at Álfacafé.

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