September 6, 2017
Mary Poppins must have graced the region with her presence because winds shifted long enough for us to actually explore the area past the Krafla power plant. And let me tell you, the winds picked up. A lot. One wrong gust and either of us could have easily blown off the top of the Hverfjall crater! In spite of the fierce drafts, we enjoyed 2km of uninterrupted views of the Mývatn lake and surrounding vicinity.
We are so glad that we gave the Krafla power plant area a second chance because Leirhnjúkur was a complete highlight. The geothermal activity felt similar to what we had already seen, but the lava fields inspired us to new levels. 30+ years after the most recent volcanic eruption, the lava here is still steaming! We marveled from afar and made sure not to stray from the well defined track. Although when our hands got cold, we didn’t hesitate to (carefully) shimmy a little closer to a sweltering rock and warm up.
Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming popularity of Game of Thrones, the peaceful hot spring caves in the area swarmed with tourists who wanted a glimpse where producers shot the Hollywood action. The few pools we discovered are currently closed to bathers because of rising water temperatures caused by recent volcanic eruptions. Years ago, I imagine Grjótagjá burst with energy, but now it has reduced to a tranquil place where you can look, but please don’t touch.
Happy hour commenced a short drive away outside the town of Husavik. We shed our layers of insulation and braved arctic winds blowing off the bay to jump into a cheese tub converted hot pot. Yes, that’s right: naturally warm waters filled a vat that use to craft cheese. Even though we weren’t sitting in a physically natural hot pot, the novelty of bathing in a vintage cheese tub utterly amused us. What a way to end our time in the locale after spending two full days exploring the wonders of Mývatn.