Statistics and crime map…
Aug 18 Published in Travel, Iceland by Peggy
We got between the continental plates
Our guidebook had described our next destination, Myvatn Lake, as surrounded by flies and referred to by locals as "a pool of the devil's piss."
We decided to go there anyway.
Myvatn itself is a wide lake surrounded by odd, gentle hills. Iceland is an island in the process of formation -- it looks like a cake that is very hot and only half-baked. (Interestingly, one of the most popular local desserts is chocolate cake that's still liquid-hot at the center.) There's steam and bubbling ooze all over the place. At Myvatn lake, lava had flowed over wet ground, super-heating the water beneath until it exploded, blowing craters downward into the land beneath.
The result is low, rolling hills that seem to dip into, rather than out of the ground. A series of grassy bowls.
We had a 5-year-old with us and ran up and down the hills. There were indeed plenty of bugs -- and plenty of birds -- about.
But the lake itself was only a prelude to the wacky phenomena beyond.
15 minutes away we found a geothermal spa -- a relaxing hot bathing spot with glowing blue water and lava rocks all around.
We also saw a "City of Lava." Columns and caves and huge bulbous rocks stood in a small valley and we walked around for an hour exploring. This time, our guide explained, the lava had vented up through a lake, not over it. Steam shot up, carrying with it quickly solidifying lava.
Or you might get more enjoyment from the older local explanation: trolls had been partying here, dancing all night, and didn't notice sunrise until too late. You know what sunlight does to trolls: freezes them into lumpy black stone. The lava city was full of them.
Nearby, we climbed into a fissure that's formed where two continental plates meet. There was hot water deep inside the fissure and we crawled into a cave and put our feet into it: perfectly clear, almost too hot to touch. We spent a half hour dabbling our feet between the tectonic plates of Europe and North America.
Before we left the area we also saw boiling mudpots and stood in the steam of miniature volcanos.
Next: our journey continues to geysers and giant waterfalls.