We awoke after another cold night and intense winds – our faith in the rooftop tent experience severely diminishing, although we are starting to feel that it isn’t so much the rooftop tent that is the problem, but the super thin and hole-y sleeping bags that came with it. The ultimate test for a sleeping bag is holding it up to the light to see if any comes through, and this one looked like a brown paper bag soggied by salt and vinegar chips… see-through hell!
A scenic 1 hour 31-minute drive to Akureyri was next on our itinerary which was also our lunch stop destination. Iceland’s northern city, Akureyri, sits at the base of two hills and the Eyjafjörður– the longest fjord in Iceland. A small, relaxing city, and a lovely lunch stop in civilization.
We had lunch at Café Berlin – more of a brunch stop actually. It was cosy but popular (also with the locals!) and served all our favourites with free wifi too! It was also toddler friendly and had a change table located near the foyer. We spend a good couple of hours their warming up and recovering from the last couple of cold nights.
Meanwhile at City Center Parking, unbeknownst to me, we were in the process of receiving a handwritten fine of a couple of thousand Icelandic Kroners. We had not bought one of the parking clocks that are required for parking our car in this spot – call it taking advantage of touristic ambivalence or holiday nonchalance.
After a moment’s breath and reading the actual fine I realised the parking officer only just placed the fine on the windscreen within the last few minutes, so I huffed and puffed and found him wandering the car park, and magically somehow managing to convince him to reverse the fine! Brilliant! I really felt like I had won the lottery. In Sydney, this would’ve been an impossibility (given one of Council’s main revenue stream is to reap rewards from car parks), perhaps this is where slow technology adoption saves humanity from itself.
After lunch we visited the local Lutherian church – Akureyrarkirkja. As the Google description says, it has many stained-glass windows and a large pipe organ and curiously enough it also had a boat hanging from the ceiling which Mr. Toddler was really interested in.
We then decided to head back towards nature to Mývatn or rather the region of Mývatn around Lake Mývatn and the nondescript town of Reykjahlíð.
Akureryri seemed like a lovely city, we just weren’t in the zone to be discover the innards of an intense conglomeration of bodies. We did however love the couple of beautiful little nuggets of Akureyri we did catch, including the mural seen below and heart-shaped red stop lights at intersections!
Before a 1 hour and 23-minute drive towards Mývatn Nature baths – the ‘Blue Lagoon of the North’, we stopped for supplies at Bonus Langholt. Going to Bonus (or any local supermarket for that matter) is somewhat of a ritual for us traveling. It’s almost like the local markets in a way, although perhaps more sterile with global corporate branding seeped into 80% of the stocked items. Still, each has some variation to our own local supermarkets in Sydney, and looking over the variety is like looking over a local treasure trove; from dried fish, limited variety of fruits and veg, tons of skyrr and Icelandic versions of international products such as ‘Cool American‘ Doritos (WTF?!):
Mývatn Nature baths had the looks of a tourist trap and after discovering the entry price, it really was. We were booked for the Blue Lagoon on our last day anyway so having two dips in similar baths just didn’t seem worth it.
Parking on the edge of Lake Mývatn was beautiful, although Camping Mývatn wasn’t so much. Absolutely packed to the rafters which made for some nervous and rude hosts with a bad system for paying for the night – on top of that their credit card machine was broken (almost an impossibility in Iceland).
Waking us up at 11pm and ordering our passports without a mere introduction was just rude. Their amenities were fine but not enough for the amount of people there – maybe adjust your timezones instead (i.e wake up earlier or later than everyone else). There were also plenty of areas toddler could explore. Sneaky-Cheeky loved running down all the mini hills and checking out the lake and the sheep.
233 kilometres driven over 3 hours and 5 minutes on our third day in Iceland. Day 4 at Egilsstaðir beckons…