Exploring Iceland in a VW Camper – Day 7
Wednesday 13th of September, 2017
We woke up and headed out from our campground in the town of Seyðisfjörður, although we really wanted to stay in this town a little longer. Unfortunately we had several other locations we had to make it to in order to stay on schedule, only a few days left of our trip! On this dreary morning – overcast, rainy and foggy – our next set of destinations were: Dettifoss, Selfoss and Hafragilsfoss.
After driving down what seemed to be Iceland’s longest and roughest dirt road, we arrived at Dettifoss. It was very windy and overcast when we got there. We walked down to Dettifoss, which is Europe’s mightiest waterfall, and then headed to Selfoss. Dettifoss was fairly busy since it is the closest one to the road. Selfoss, on the other hand, was not nearly as busy despite it not being much further of a walk. We personally liked Selfoss a lot more than Dettifoss. While taking photos of Selfoss, we had one of our water bottles fall out of our bag and bounce right into the canyon and down the waterfall. If anyone found it, it’s a red Hydroflask, we would really like it back!
Lesson learned: Keep items attached to you at all times!
We skipped seeing Hafragilsfoss because we decided that we wanted to see the Northwest Region and Westfjords, something we had originally planned on seeing but removed from our itinerary because of time restrictions. While we were driving for what seemed like forever without anywhere to stop, we finally found a nice rest area, and by rest area we mean two porta johns secured to the ground in the middle of nowhere. Why secured? Because the wind was insane in this mountain area!
We drove to Lake Mývatn area and stopped at Námafjall, also known as “the mud cracks.” We could smell this place from kilometers away, and it wasn’t a pleasant smell. The area was a series of giant steaming piles of…sulfur, strong sulfur. We kind of pictured Mars looking just like this place, and probably smelling this bad. We also saw this great sign at the mud cracks: “It only takes one set of footprints for thousands to follow. Stay safe. Respect nature.”
We really liked this because Iceland’s tourism is rapidly expanding and the government and various groups are working to keep the county’s beauty intact. We witnessed so many people disrespecting signs, ropes, and other barriers to get “better photos.” This is a good reminder that if we want our friends, family, and children to enjoy this lovely country in the future, we have to respect it so much because the damage caused by people can take hundreds of years to heal.
We continued on our trip and skipped a lot of other stuff in the Mývatn area so we could cover some ground on or way to Westfjords. We did stop at Goðafoss waterfall and it was beautiful. For being right off a main road, it was surprisingly not very busy and easy to photograph. There are stairs right down to the water and you can go to either side of the falls which spreads people out nicely. The water was so blue that we could not get over it!
We drove to Akureyri as our final night’s resting place. We also were trying to hit up the beer store in this town because it was one of the larger ones we found online and wanted to get some beers to take home with us, but we were five minutes late…they closed at 6:00pm. Iceland, why are your beer stores never open when we need them to be?!?! We weren’t going to make it in the morning either because we were going to be up and on the road before they opened at 11:00am. We stopped at a Bónus grocery store to get some fresh food and drinks to supplement our freeze dried meals. We found out a few days ago that we really missed our sparkling waters from back home so we found some really tasty ones at the grocery store that we would buy and keep cold in the van’s refrigerator. A lot of the items had English on them or the packaging has some similarity to the ones we were familiar with in America so we could figure out what it was we were looking for pretty easily. We read a lot about the cost of items in Iceland being really high, which is true for the most part, but we also found it to be strange. For example, at this store you could get a full bag of Doritos for about $2.50 USD, similar to the USA. Or, you could get a 12oz can of diced tomatoes for the same price…way too expensive!
We went to the campground and they had a sign on their door saying they were closed for the season, even though the Camping Card book said they should be open for two more days. So, we continued on driving westward to the next campground in our book which was Sauðárkrókur. We had a hard time finding this campground as well because the book did not have addresses or GPS coordinates, like most of the other campgrounds in the book. We headed to a local pub to get a drink and get instructions…and they weren’t open yet! So, we moved from Google Maps to Apple Maps, which hadn’t worked for us in the past, but Apple Maps actually got us to the campground this time. This campground was so far the emptiest of all the campgrounds we stayed at, with a total of four total campers in a field when we got there and two more that arrived after us. The best part of this campground was the bathrooms and showers. The building was clean and new. The shower was amazing! They only have a camp warden during the day but they had a sign and a money drop box to pay for the shower when the warden was not around. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, despite the many other online blogs that say you do not need any Icelandic currency because everyone accepts credit card, having some spare money for situations like this is very helpful. We dropped a $5 American bill in the box, we hope whoever got it can exchange it!
Overall the weather in the morning was overcast and rainy and the rest of the day was sunny but cold and windy.
Read more: Fall Travels on the Ring road
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