Thursday, December 8, 2016

Akureyri, Iceland: Godafoss Waterfall and Myvatn Lake

We made it to Iceland!!!! Iceland was one of the major draws of this particular cruise, we were all super excited to discover what Iceland is all about!

Our first Icelandic Port was Akureyri. Here, the majority of our family signed up for the Jewels of the North port adventure during which we got to see many natural beauties Akureyri has to offer.

Our first stop was at the magnificent Godafoss Waterfall.

Goðafoss, or waterfall of the Gods, is closely connected with one of the most important event in Icelandic history, the conversion to Christianity from heathendom or “the old custom” in the year 1000.

At that time Þorgeir Þorkelsson, chieftain from nearby Ljósavatn was lawspeaker in Iceland. As such he was faced with the task of settling the growing disputes between Christians and those who worshipped the old Nordic gods. Despite being a heathen priest himself, he decided that all of Iceland should be Christian, as is famously recorded in the Sagas.

Legend has it that, once he returned back to Ljósavatn from this historic Alþingi, he dispensed of his heathen gods by throwing them into the falls in a symbolic act of the conversion. This, according to the legend, is how Goðafoss got its name.

The Goðafoss waterfall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 40 feet over a width of 98 feet.

Vienne loved all the wildflowers

V fit perfectly right on top of my camera bag

After our visit to the falls, we loaded up on the coaches and headed for Myvatn Lake. Vienne was so fun to sit by on the bus, she was constantly popping her head over and between seats to say hello.

By the time we reached the lake. the sun had decided to come out and it turned into the most gorgeous day!

Mývatn is a shallow eutrophic lake situated in an area of active volcanism, not far from Krafla volcano. The lake was created by a large basaltic lava eruption 2300 years ago, and the surrounding landscape is dominated by volcanic landforms, including lava pillars and pseudocraters. 

A rootless cone, also formerly called a pseudocrater, is a volcanic landform which resembles a true volcanic crater, but differs in that it is not an actual vent from which lava has erupted. They are characterized by the absence of any magma conduit which connects below the surface of a planet.

Rootless cones are formed by steam explosions as flowing hot lava crosses over a wet surface, such as a swamp, lake, or pond. The explosive gases break through the lava surface in a manner similar to a phreatic eruption, and the tephra builds up crater-like forms which can appear very similar to real volcanic craters.

After our visit to the lake and hiking to the top of one of the many pseudocraters, we headed to the visitors center for a quick lunch of cookies and tea sandwiches.

A nasty part of this visit, that you would never be able to tell from our lovely pictures above, is that this whole area is SWARMING with midges, the little, flying, gnat like insects pictured below. 

The name of the lake (Icelandic mý ("midge") and vatn ("lake"); the lake of midges) comes from the huge numbers of midges to be found here in the summer. Midges don't bite, thank goodness, but they were all up in our hair and stuck to our clothes like glue and were constantly flying in our mouths in we weren't careful to keep them shut. The gift shop, which is the building in the picture below, sells nets to put over your face and hair. If you are going to be visiting this area in the summer, like we did, I would highly suggest picking up a net before exploring the lake or craters.

We did happen to find some Fanta Exotic here. This was one of Mike and Jenny's favorite discoveries when there were in Norway last year. All of us had been looking for it ever since our trip began, and this was the first place we were able to actually find some! It is super delicious and has a tropical taste to it.

Next up: Lava Fields and Geothermal Pools

No comments:

Post a Comment