Iceland Exploration Day 2–the magic continues

As I hit the road early this morning, the first observation was lava dikes in the side of a mountain! Check them out here:

The only other time I have ever seen lava dikes in person was Isla Isabela, during my Galápagos expedition. Iceland actually reminds me so much of Galápagos, just a cooler (as in temperature) version. This makes sense, they are both landforms over a hot spot so much of their formation is similar despite their geographic differences.

The first official stop today was a town called Hvammstengi, to visit the Wool Factory and explore a local seal museum. In the mountains above the town, I spotted this snow collection that reminded me of a world map. Not the best map I’ve ever seen, but also not the worst (least accurate) one either.

As I explored the harbor area, I was mesmerized by the life that had washed ashore and began using iNaturalist to identify what I observed.

When I get to a computer, I will properly identify these photos with captions. For now, consider this your challenge to identify them on your own — what will you learn?

Onward on the journey brought me to Gröf, the site of the oldest remaining turf church in Iceland named Grafarkirkja.

This was another magical moment for sure.

Hofsós was our next stop, another magical place. I found my first troll.

This was also my first glimpse at columnar basalt formations. I was mesmerized, and wanted to see it from all angles.

This was an incredible observation to make in person. From above they look similar to a box of crayons, each formation in its own place.

On the road again and through a one lane mountain tunnel. Yes, you read treat right. A tunnel, through a mountain, and only one lane for traffic. This is exciting enough on its own, but what makes it extra exciting is when you don’t know it will be a one lane tunnel and you see headlights coming towards you. Oh yes, my friends, that totally happened today.

We survived this event and made it to Siglufjörður. We stopped for kaffi (coffee) at a local shop recommended to us by a local and I explored the harbor, after posing for a few photos with two new friends.

In the harbor, I spotted what I believe to be hair like sulfur deposits — I’ve seen this before — in the Amazon as part of a thermal system.

Could these be the same indication of a deposit and possible geothermal energy?

We visited the Folk Music Museum before leaving for the day, and another magical moment happened. I learned about the langspil, the National instrument of Iceland. What’s more — I learned to play it…

This is not how you typically play it, this is just the only photo of me attempting. When I get the chance, I will upload video of me actually playing it! It was….magical.

On our way to Akureyri, we passed through Ólafsfjarðar, and I spotted my first set of elf houses and my second troll! Icelandic culture has a beautiful belief in Huldufólk, or Hidden Folk, which include elves and trolls. My understanding is that they inhabit rocks, trees, mounds, and small houses but lead similar lives to humans, but in a parallel world. They can become visible to humans at will. Throughout Iceland, art and physical dwellings can be spotted.

We settled for camp tonight in Akureyi, and I prepared a delicious salmon (locally caught) dinner.



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