We had booked a whole day excursion around Akureyri as it promised to take us to see many of the things which had fascinated me  about this land of ice and fire.

We boarded a comfortable coach at 8.15am and our local guide, Sigurd, had introduced himself. He proved to be an excellent guide, both informative and humerous, and spoke excellent English. In the winter he was a farmer, (which is a very difficult job in Iceland with the harsh climate and poor soil) and supplemented the family income by being a guide for the short summer season.

He took us first to Godafoss, the Falls of the Gods.


 After Godafoss we went to Myvatn a beautiful lake, home to many species of bird.

Edge of Myvatn. The line of tourists made me think of a line of pilgrims!

 After time spent at Myvatn, birdwatching and taking photographs, we travelled on to Dimmubogir to see the lava fields. It is said that astronauts have trained here and I could well believe it!

lava field at Dimmubogir

 Many legends abound about this place, mostly involving Trolls or Grey People. When I was in Norway the Trolls were just regarded as fairytales, but here in Iceland I got the impression that they half believe in them, like the leprochauns in Ireland!

Another view of the lava fields

We had a lovely lunch at a hotel by the lake and then we went to see the boiling mud pools and sulphur holes near Namafjall.

boiling mud pool

These looked like something from a sc-fi film, bubbling and spouting like a giant pan of porridge!

Just part of this primeval sort of field

 Everywhere we were reminded of the force of Nature just below the surface. Steam shot up from cracks in the earth through natural chimneys. The Icelandic people live with the constant threat of earthquakes and volcanic activity, but they accept it and grow up knowing how to cope with it. They harness and make full use of it. Hot water is piped all over the island. It is cheaper to buy hot water than cold! Every village of more than 50 inhabitants has a heated swimming pool and one bay on the coast pumps hot water into the ice cold sea!

You will have noticed that there are very few trees in Iceland. This was first caused by overfelling by the early settlers and then by overgrazing by the sheep. This has also caused soil erosion but they are trying to rectify this with tree planting, mostly birch, and we saw several plantations which seem to be surviving the struggle and already there are signs of improving fertility.

After a very full and interesting day we returned to Akureyri in time for departure at 5pm. It had been a wonderful day which more than fulfilled JW  and my expectations.