Myvatn Slide Show


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Photographs by Michael Gordon, hermaður pá Keflavíkurflugv öllur 1985-1986.

The story:  I flew from Reykjavik to Akureyri in July.  It was a very interesting flight; because of the short distance the turboprop aircraft does not fly so high.  We flew a little bit southeast from a snowcap glacier sitting on a flat-topped mountain (Thorisjokull, or Þó risjökull).  An interesting phenomenon: the glacier cools the air, so the air flows off the glacier around the sides because the cold air is heavy.  This sucks air in over the top to replace the air, and so at the edges of the plateau, a very large roll of air continually happens and you can see the clouds dragged into this roll making "tubes" in the sky.  We flew through one of these rolling air masses and it was not very pleasant, even though it was interesting.

Akureyri is the "capital of the north" and has a university.  It does not get very dark night or day in the summer; being not very may miles or kilometers from the Arctic Circle.  Consequently it will very often appear as you see in the photographs no matter what time of day you arrive.  I have also driven the dirt road from Reykjavik to Akureyri, about 400 kilometers and not going very fast it took me a day and a half to do it.  Of course, I also make frequent stops for photography and to talk occasionally to friendly people.   I have never met an Icelander that I did not like, but also they wait to see if you are going to talk first.  Otherwise you are just another American that will come and go.  But if you are not too haughty, and try at least a few words of Icelandic which is a very difficult language, then you will find Icelanders to be intelligent, knowledgeable about the world, also very interesting.

The tourbuses are quite intimidating; many of them are "four wheel drive" or six or eight or however many wheels they have; they are all powered and also the buses have high clearance for going right through rivers.  

Along this particular tour one comes to a beautiful waterfall by the name Goðafoss or anglicised, "Gothafoss".  It means "god falls" and is the place that a particular chief, upon his conversion to Christianity, threw his idols into the falls.  Myvatn is two words: "My" (said "me" with a long-e) and "vatn" (said "vat" like "ought").  My is the name of an insect, a fly, that is common to the area.  Millions of them live within two meters of the edge of the water -- water is "vatn" so the literal translations might be "lake of flies" -- not very impressive, is it?  But the lake is sure impressive, very large and quite dramatic.  In fact, you should see it on a dark, cloudy day when the emphasis is upon the dark stones contrasting to mysterious misty water.  

Lunch is served family style at a large cafe or inn near the lake, then we proceed to visit Krafla geothermal power station.  This is very impressive and a little bit dangerous as signs warn you to not wander away from the trail.  Huge vents of steam come out of the ground and dwarf the tour bus; if you look closely at some of the steam photographs you will see our tour bus.

Electricity is generated here.  It is still not far from active volcanoes and from time to time lava comes out and threatens the facility.  

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