Last night we camped off of some gravel pull off behind some trees at the base of that giant crater. It was not on private property, there were no “no camping” signs, and since in Iceland you can camp anywhere as long as you keep those two rules in mind, we just plopped ourselves down, and set up quick. We had a quick supper of hot soup and slept. It may have been the best night of sleep I’d had so far. It wasn’t windy, I had a warm full belly of soup, and we all sat in the car in our sleeping bags to get nice and toasty before moving into our tent.
Come morning we were fogged in like crazy. And, by morning I mean we slept until 11am. We’ve been struggling with the time difference. It’s only 4 hours, but it doesn’t get dark until so late so we’re traveling or exploring until close to 11 or 12 every night and then we’re exhausted in the morning and end up sleeping in.
Today was an easier day. We spent quite a few hours at the Myvtan Nature Baths 10 minutes from where we’d camped. Myvtan Nature Baths is a geothermal pool of the same aqua blue water found in the Blue Lagoon. But, it is FAR less crowded and commercialized. And half the price.
The place is really cute! And they do really try to keep everything clean- inside and out. Just like almost everywhere we’ve been. This country really has cleanliness and organization down pat. It’s impressive really. Before going into the locker rooms, guests have to take off their socks and shoes and store them in cubbies. Since Iceland is full of hikers, backpackers and campers, it was hilarious to see almost only boots and wool socks from top to bottom in all the cubbies across the wall.
Once inside you are required to shower before entering any of the nature baths. This goes for all baths and pools across Iceland. And not just shower and rinse off, like shower with soap and shampoo. They have signs showing which areas to focus on “thoroughly washing” – Armpits, groin and feet. But what I wasn’t ready for, was the number of naked butts and boobs that I saw in the ten minutes I was in the locker room! You could instantly pick out the Americans from the Europeans. Like the rest of the Americans I was focused on one thing. “Eyes down. Eyes down. Look at the floor. Oh gosh. Another naked woman.” In the shower room, it’s a room of communal showers. Only two of the 8 showers are private with a curtain. Most of the Europeans were all just showering and washing away standing naked together in the communal shower like it was just normal. It was so freaking weird! Then there was a line of the more private people waiting to shower in the 2 stalls with a curtain. Levi said the men’s bathroom was the same and he saw plenty that he could’ve gone a lifetime without seeing. lol
Once past the bathroom scene, the baths are gorgeous. That natural blue water is just amazing. It smells of sulfur, but you get used to it. (Our hair all still smells like sulfur a day later though). There was a small hot tub, a bigger hot pool, and a warmer pool. We spent about 2 hours just lounging from tub to tub.
After we packed up we made a quick stop to another geothermal field where there were massive steam vents and bubbling craters of boiling mud. Again, cool.
We began the drive onward down the ring road and stopped about an hour later at Dettifoss- Europe’s most powerful waterfall. The final 25 min to the falls are down a long dirt road, surrounded by nothing. It was like the moon or mars again. Black and red dirt with rocks scattered everywhere across the top for as far as the eye could see. In the distance were tall mountain peaks. The river corridor was covered in a thick fog. As we approached it looked so eerie! One of us said it looked post-apocolyptic, one said “where are the zombies?” and the other “it’s like we’ve entered the land of the walking dead!”
The falls were a sight. A muddy punch of power. We walked a mile up further and saw another set of falls, Selfoss, that were picturesque, less powerful.
The rest of the day was spent driving. We’re headed towards the glaciers of Iceland next. We plan on just driving until dark and then finding a pulloff to camp for the night.