I woke from a slightly better night's sleep, at the early hour of 6 AM. A bowl of delicious all bran cereal later, I was back on the road. Next stop: Akureyri. The city of Akureyri is the second largest in the country outside of Reykjavik, so I was planning on using this as a home base for the day's adventures, as well as stock up on whatever else I needed. After leaving Hvammstangi, I felt much more optimistic having started to adjust to the new time change...sort of.
I was now entering what would be considered Northern Iceland, and once again I was greeted with a spectacular display of mountains, valleys, winding roads, and beautiful blue skies. The weather had definitely cleared up, and it immediately put a smile on my face. It's amazing what a little sunshine can do to lift the spirits. Not that my spirits really needed lifting, after all, I was in fu**ing Iceland. At one point in the drive I came around a bend and was greeted with an amazing view of a valley landscape. I had to stop to take some photos and soak in the site.
From there I headed into Akureyri, not certain what I was going to do except get some food. The city was definitely large (by Icelandic standards), and I knew there was going to be plenty of places to grab food, stock up, get gas, and maybe even shower. After a little bit of debating over lunch, I decided I would stay in a hostel for the night, and recharge the batteries. This brought me to Akureyri Backpackers. This cozy, welcoming hostel was in a main center of the city, surrounded by shops and cafés. A good base for the time being. The hostel itself was the perfect place to hang my hat and do a little planning.
Next stop: Viti Crater. I decided to head east a bit, and wanted to check out this crater. It looked interesting from what I had researched. The drive was about 2 hours from Akureyri, which again, flew by in no time. I made my way to the snow-covered area, and took a road up the mountains and past a small power plant just below the crater. The road finally ended, and the crater was a short walk up the mountain, on a mostly snow-covered path. I did not have to best shoes for walking on snow, but I did my best to keep my balance and not fall on my ass. I mostly succeeded.
When I arrived at the top of the crater, I looked down expecting to find a cool lake inside. It was completely frozen over. Not surprising considering the entire area was covered in snow. However, the view from the top of the crater was absolutely breathtaking. Surreal moment number 3 (or is it 4 now...) had just kicked in. From here, I could see what seemed like an endless landscape of snow-covered mountains and valleys. It was like I was on top of the world. Simply spectacular.
After taking my time absorbing the view and atmosphere, I headed back down the mountain. Next stop: Lake Mývatn. I didn't have a solid plan for the lake, just knew I wanted to check it out. Most of the trails I came across looked closed due to the snow, although I probably just didn't see a lot of them. Either way, the lake and surrounding area was beautiful. I drove around the entire lake, trying to keep my eyes on the road instead of staring at all the beauty. I pulled over for a few minutes at a viewpoint to take a look around. Having not found a clear hiking path anywhere, I decided it was time to head back to Akureyri.
After having spotted it on the way up to Viti Crater, I figured I'd make a quick pit stop at Godafoss waterfall. It was a small pull off the road, so I figured why not. It was actually quite a nice spot, and my second of Iceland's many waterfalls. It definitely had much more of a presence and amazement than Kirkjufellsfoss. I could feel the power of the falls shaking the ground. Mist was in the air. The small rainbow was a nice touch too. I snapped a few quick pictures then headed back out, not staying too long.
That pretty much put a wrap on the day. I made my way back into the great town of Akureyri, where a warm bed, a shower, and a few beers awaited me. Day 3 was another success, and I was really starting to sink my teeth into the amazing things Iceland had to offer. But I wasn't done. In fact, still just getting started.