June 27, 2009

After our late night we still managed to get up and be at breakfast by 9 am. Neil and Christine got there a few minutes after we did, and we sat around talking for a while.

Neil and Christine wanted a lazy day – and who could blame them after yesterday’s marathon? – so the two of us set out in the car for a trip around the lake. Our first stop was a gift shop just down the road, where we found the strange “volcano bread” which we had had in the breakfast buffet. The bread dough is put into milk boxes and then steamed in volcanic steam vents for 24 hours.

After that we carried on around the lake, turning into the road where Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum was located. On the shores of the lake we saw several phalaropes and horned grebes. Red-necked Phalarope The museum was new, having just opened last year, and was named after a local bird collector who had died in a boating accident in the lake. But we didn’t want to spend the time indoors at that moment, especially since the entry fee was 800 IKR each, so we carried on around the lake again.

As the weather was sunny and clear our views in all directions were fantastic. Mývatn view Instead of the 7° C with clouds and wind we had been having, today it was more like 15° C and sunny. The bird life on the lake was quite varied, with thousands of Tufted Ducks and other species. But the best part was all the baby ducks. There were Red-necked Phalaropes all around, and we even found one of them with her four tiny chicks.

Our main stop was the birding location at the end of the lake, where the Laxá river flowed out of it. A trail went along the side of the rushing river, so we wandered along for quite a while looking at the ducks and grebes. Along the river were large clumps of marsh marigolds which glowed beautifully in the sunshine. Marsh marigolds

There were several places to stop for short walks around the lake, each of them with their own birds. We came across everything from Whooper Swans to a surprising Snow Bunting. Barrow's Goldeneye But when we realized it was 2 pm we decided to head straight back to Reykjahlið.

Back at the guest house, Neil and Christine had gone out so we made lunch, had showers, and rinsed out some clothes. Rosemary went over to the sweater shop and found a lovely short-sleeved sweater which would look nice over a white blouse, so she bought it.

Neil and Christine arrived back about 4:30 pm. They told us about their adventures renting a rowboat. It was the renting of the boat which was the adventure; rowing around on the lake was a piece of cake. Neil had bought a salmon, so we had that for dinner along with some of the sweet potatoes which we had acquired earlier from one of the youth hostels.

After doing the dishes we went out for an evening walk. Our first stop was Dimmuborgir, which is an area with bizarre volcanic rock formations. Some of the formations were towers with lava tubes through them. Dimmuborgir We followed a marked trail through the area and then returned to the car. Then we drove along the road a bit so we could climb the crater Hverfjall. The trail climbed quite steeply on an angle up one side. Upon reaching the crater’s edge, the view out onto the lava plains to the west was very good. Lava plains view

Christine and Neil went off to the hot pools, and the two of us went to the supermarket where we bought soft ice cream cones. Both cones were huge so instead of walking back to our rooms, we sat at the picnic tables outside and ate them. Both of us were having problems with the drips but did manage not to get too covered with ice cream. Back at the rooms, we tidied up then wrote journals before going to bed.

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