Iceland in winter, part 3: Of thrones and goats

Day four was our all-day Lake Mývatn “Game of Thrones” tour. Our guide, Sandra, was terrific. We didn’t see any of the GOT sites advertised on the tour’s site–not the wall (which is of course not a real thing, though we’d imagined sections of it used for filming), not the “love cave”–and that was a little disappointing, but the day could not have been any better. We had fabulous weather, and the light was unbelievable pretty much all day. I took many shots with the borrowed fancy camera I had, boring shots of fabulous clouds, none of which capture the reality of it.

The first stop was back to Goðafoss, the waterfall of the gods. Much prettier in the daylight, and with the sun rising behind it…

Goðafoss at dawn.
Goðafoss at dawn.

We did a lot of driving and took many small stops to see something off the side of the road. We also made stops at Lake Mývatn and the false craters there, formed when eruptions hit ice and bounce back. We went to the home of the Yule Lads and hiked around in the deep snow there. Our van got very thoroughly stuck in the same deep snow, and we tried to get it out but failed and Sandra (our wonderful tour guide) had to call for help. We all felt bad for her because she was so obviously embarrassed. It was fun romping through the deep snow there, even if the rocks didn’t look much like trolls to me.

False craters at Lake Mývatn.
False craters at Lake Mývatn.
These outcroppings are supposed to be the Yule Lads, turned to stone. The goons in front are myself and Husband.
These outcroppings are supposed to be the Yule Lads, turned to stone. The goons in front are myself and Husband.

Then we had a very nice lunch at the Cow Shed. You could actually see the cows through a window from where we ate. I had a burger even though that felt a little wrong with them sitting there watching me. Om nom nom.

I honestly can’t remember what we saw after lunch. There was the “stinky mud pits,” as Sandra called them. Very sulphuric and gorgeous, with the now-sunset behind the rising steam. Finally we ended up at the Mývatn baths, which in my opinion was far better than the Blue Lagoon. There was a fabulous view of the snow-covered landscape, with the sun setting the entire time we were there. Almost no one else was there, and even the other couple with us on the tour didn’t get in the water. I can’t imagine why not.

The stinky mud pits. That's all our guide would call them, though I don't remember them smelling particularly bad.
The stinky mud pits. That’s all our guide would call them, though I don’t remember them smelling particularly bad.
Sunset from the baths at Lake Mývatn. Sunset began before we got there and wasn't done when we left.
Sunset from the baths at Lake Mývatn. Sunset began before we got there and wasn’t done when we left.

Day five was our flight back to Reykjavik. We checked back into the hotel there and waited for Bunny to pick up the rental car, and then I began my life as a backseat troll. We had the biggest vehicle we could really rent, which technically seats seven, but the backseat (the wayback) was really only meant for kids. Jeremy and I sat in it as we headed out of town toward the goat farm that Bunny wanted to see. Long story short, we didn’t make it. We ended up on this road labeled “impassable,” and decided to turn around. As it turns out, I’m pretty sure we were on the wrong road and wouldn’t have made it anyway.

Crow laments the impassable road… and makes fart jokes. Photo by Bunny, probably.

We backtracked as far as Borgarnes and got some coffee and then tried the eternal Plan B: Find Some Booze. In this case, we tried to find the Reyka distillery. We also failed at that. We bought some booze (at a store) and headed back into town.

Dinner was at Tapas Barinn in Reykjavík, and was hands-down the most fabulous meal of the trip. Little bites of delicious Nordic delicacies. It seemed expensive, but we got a lot of food of high quality, and ate most of the animals on our to-eat list (puffin and whale and sheep, oh my!). Yum!

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