Miles of Mountains!

Today we left Mývatn and headed up North! But first, our poor little car was due for a serious wash. A lot of these “roads” are long stretches of dusty gravel, and it really takes its toll:


Our first stop? You guessed it! Another waterfall! This time it was Goðafoss (English translation “waterfall of the gods”), which is considered one of the most spectacular in Iceland. It seems that every waterfall we go to is touted as being “the best”, “the nicest”, etc etc. That being said, they are all insanely beautiful and i don’t know how you could say one is “better” or “nicer” than any of the others, but it does amuse us when we read in our little itinerary that there’s about waterfall we shouldn’t miss on our daily route. Our conversation generally goes like this:

“another one?”

“yes…but apparently this one is the most ‘spectacular'”

“but the last one was supposedly the ‘most spectacular'”

“no no, that one was ‘the most stunning'”.

“and the one before that?”

“that one was ‘the most lovely'”.

“oooh. Ok. Well we certainly can’t miss the one deemed to be ‘most spectacular'”.

And of course they never disappoint!

This waterfall played an important role in history in the year 999 when Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði (how’s that for a name? lol) made Christianity the official religion of Iceland, and then proceeded to hurl his statues of the Norse gods off this waterfall (as you would, when you no longer need those ol’things!). Again, there wasn’t much in the way of guardrails, and we were pretty sure a few times that a few tourists would be hurled off the rocks, but miraculously it didn’t happen.

Now, remember yesterday when the tour guide at Dimmuborgir told us that Icelander’s don’t believe in Santa? Well, imagine our shock and surprise at seeing this guy loitering on the side of the road:


Yes, those are our shocked faces (…and yes, it appears someone shot out his left eye with something…it wasn’t us! We wanna stay on the “nice” list!). So, we of course had to know what was going on 31km down the road, And this is what we found:


It’s Santa’s vacation house in Iceland! They were playing Christmas carols in Icelandic, serving mulled wine and candy apples, and even Santa’s laundry was hanging from a clothesline in the front yard (very undignified, if you ask me!). It was amazing! We really got into the spirit of it!

Remember those Yule Lads from the last post? The elf-men with the hilarious names?


Well, they were all there too, and their unsightly mother   Grýla, the ogress who makes a stew of naughty children. She was frightening, and I’m not sure if the photo correctly captures exactly how terrifying she looks:

Luckily we are neither naughty, nor children, so we knew we wouldn’t be devoured by her. Still weird to find her lurking in the basement of Santa’s vacation home.

At the moment, we are Akureyri, which is the capital of the North in Iceland, and it’s so North, we are actually only a short ferry ride to the Arctic Circle! Unfortunately (…and this really broke my heart), we weren’t able to catch the boat in time to go, and the short flights you can take were all booked! Guess I’ll have to get there on another trip. But it sucks to be so close and not be able to go! We’ve been seeing lots of signs on the road for reindeer crossing….haven’t seen any yet, but am VERY hopeful!!!

Next up we checked out the traditional turf-roofed houses at Laufás, which were very cool.

The signs were very clear that we should not climb up on top of them, so that thwarted that plan! But we made do with just walking around.

So, not only is Akureyri extremely picturesque with all the mountains and Fjords…

…but they also found a unique way to amuse motorists and cut down on road rage:


Yes, all their red lights are shaped like hearts! We thought we were hallucinating at first, but then noticed that the heart is kinda the town symbol and on most of the signs.

We checked out the famous church here, made by state architect Guðjón Samúelsson, who also created the crazy-looking church in Reykjavik, which was featured in an earlier blog posting:


If you look closely, you can see the conscientious fellow tourist who tried to hide himself behind that tiny post in the left-side corner, to give me an unobstructed picture. Didn’t quite work, and actually looks a bit sinister, but I appreciated his attempt!

And now we are checked into the most beautiful guesthouse right on the water, in the Fjord. They have a gorgeous big lounge with windows overlooking the water and apparently there’s always whales out there swimming by:

…and of course Mo is loving the outdoor hot tub!


We made it in time for Happy Hour at our hotel, so glasses of wine were only $7 Canadian, instead of $14, which was nice! First time we’ve had wine on this trip!

Tomorrow we head further North. Fingers crossed we find a reindeer!


4 thoughts on “Miles of Mountains!”

  1. Couple things…at first I read 1999 instead of 999 and I was thinking, hmmm funny I don’t remember hearing that on the news? omg. second, I still need an explanation about the Santa Claus duplicity? Why are people lying to you? thirdly, did the traffic light calm your road rage? and finally, the Icelandic Yule Lads….love, marry, kill, which ones? 🙂


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