After Skaftafell, we continued eastward along the Ring Road. Eastern Iceland is even less populated. There are stretches of unpathed Ring Road. We stayed in a nice bed and breakfast in Egilsstadir, a midpoint stayover before heading to Myvatn. Most of the drive was in a lava wasteland – lunar landscape of red and black rock with very little vegetation.
Lake Myvatn was formed by volcanic activities 2000 years ago. We stayed in a relatively new hotel (Fosshotel) overlooking the lake. There are lots of volcanic related scenery in the vicinity.
The Myvatn Nature Bath is a naturally heated man-made lagoon, with mineral-rich waters known for their health-giving properties. We salvaged a rainy day by joining many other tourists in the Icelandic traditional geothermally-heated outdoor pool. There was a light mist falling, so it was a bit chilly. The water was not quite warm enough to warm our bodies. We moved around a couple of the pools to find warm spots. Our heads and faces got the cold raindrops and brisk air, while our bodies were immersed in almost-hot-enough sulfury water. This is our replacement of the Blue Lagoon near Reykjvik which we did not go to - too many tourists.
We had dinner at the FossHotel. David had Langostino (Icelandic lobster/crawfish) soup, white chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet. Sally’s main entrée was pork belly with rhubarb sauce, cabbage, carrots, and sweet potato.
We visited a geothermal power plant at Krafla. They showed a 7-minute video explaining how it works, tapping into geothermal heat sources. The plant started drilling into the super-heated water aquifer in 1984; then a fissure opened and ruined the equipment. Eventually they drilled 44 boreholes, and only 24 are in use at a time. Government has planned an expansion, a “Krafla 2” at this location.
We drove to Villingjfellir, a cone-shaped mountain on west side of Lake Myvatn. We intended to hike to top (although the reported 1-hour each way looked more like 2 to 3 hours each way) but the midges swarmed us. We gave up after 5 minutes and drove back to the hotel. We found later that mý means midge and vatn means lake in Icelandic. No wonder!