Since the earth’s crust is so thin in Iceland, natural geothermal pools of water, locally called “hot pots”, are in almost every town.
This morning Sari and I woke up at Christina’s apartment in Blönduós, and together with our Slovakian hitchhiker friend Martina, hopped back in the car and drove a ways down the road to Sau?arkrokur. We stopped for a minute to let Martina out at the petrol station in town, and then turned off Route 1, onto a smaller dirt road to the north. Dropping Martina off at a petrol station on the side of the road felt a bit strange, but since she was hitchhiking around Route 1, she said it was no problem, and that she’s surely find her next ride easily. She was traveling with a medium sized camping backpack, and had mostly been spending the nights camping in her tent at local campsites in the towns she was dropped off in.
We turned off Route 1 and headed north towards the small farming town of Reykir, which is named after the region’s role in Iceland’s famous “Grettir’s Saga”. According to the Saga, Grettir swam ashore here, after a long 7.5 km swim from the flat-topped island of Dragney, and soothed himself at Reykir. Grettislaug is the geothermal pool that Grettir relaxed at during the 12th century, and still exists today.
Sari and I arrived at Grettislaug in the afternoon, enjoyed a relaxing time sitting in the geothermal pool looking north into the Skagafjordur bay.
After Grettislaug, we drove on to the 18th century turf farm museum Glaumbaer. The museum is a collection of 12 turf houses that give real-world insight into the living conditions that 18th century Icelandic farmers endured.
Our last stop of the day was for well deserved pizza in downtown Akureyri, and then a quick walk around town, through the botanical gardens.
Tonight we’re staying with Joseph, and tomorrow we’re waking up early to take the ferry to Grimsey.