We all slept in and woke up late-ish. We sat together around the tablet and ate a big breakfast together. The restful peaceful morning was the perfect way to start the day before we headed out! Hverir was our first stop, and oh boy, it STANK. It smelled like one humungo fart. It's a sort of sulfur hot spring area, and the sulfur smell was a bit different than what we smelled in the faucets in Reykjavik. It was much much much stronger of a rotten egg smell. It was kinda cool though because there were some holes in some of the rocks where steam just shot out non-stop. Our shoes got super muddy walking through, but honestly it was so cool to look at and walk through. After holding our breath for a bit, we finally got to focus on how the mud floors and swamps were an amazing mix of red, yellow, green, silver, and blue. It felt like we were on another planet, like Mars or something.
Eventually we had enough of the stink and we decided to wipe off our muddy boots and continue on trekking to the next location, the Myvatn Nature Baths. We got extremely excited since they voluntarily accepted our American UC Davis Student IDs which provided us with a good 1200 ISK (~$11.51 American dollar) discount. Woot woot! This was the first dip we've had in the amazing well known sulfur-filled aquamarine waters we had all been looking forward to. We first all had to shower naked (like take off your swim suit butt-naked kind of naked) in the showers before putting on our swim suits to head into the pool. The signs are very clear about which parts of your body you need to scrub clean first, and this is all to respect and preserve the cleanliness of their nature baths, so it's important to respect that. Janae and I just took turns to brave the being naked (because there was an Icelandic lady scolding a couple other travelers for keeping their swim suits on during the pre-shower). Then we slipped into the water, which had an amazingly silky and slippery feel. Felt soooo nice on my skin. Wei left his ring on and it turned it from silver to this cool sort of black. He actually really liked what it did to the jewelry so he contemplated slipping some back for our jewelry making friend to play with, but it didn't end up happening haha.
The sulfur/silica water is apparently super good for your skin, but bad for your hair, so tie that hair up ladies! I waded around and was a bit in awe because I didn't realize that natural water could be that beautiful a color. I really enjoyed this nature bath because it wasn't too crowded. It was nice to have our space and to enjoy the mountain-filled scenery around us. Our bodies went from running across the freezing 30 degree wind to the warm water, so it felt crazy warm at first, but it started to feel a bit lukewarm after a while. This was when we realized there was a small heated tub on the side with hotter water, so we dipped into that for a while to warm up even more. We ventured into the steam rooms on the side and met another American couple from Vermont! We chatted for a bit before leaving to try and find Lake Myvatn.
We drove in circles and circles looking for Lake Myvatn. We were extremely confused and felt super lost because even though Google Maps told us we were at the vista point, we saw nothing but fields of snow. Then it clicked. We realized that we actually were standing right to the lake the entire time, but the entire lake was just frozen and covered in so much snow. LOL we felt like we were on a wild goose chase, but that's what we get for visiting the lake after a huge day of heavy snow I guess. It was slightly disappointing but pretty funny.
Then on our drive back through to the Airbnb, Harry noticed on Google Maps that Goðafoss, another crazy amazing waterfall in Iceland, was only 1km away from where we were. We took a quick spontaneous detour (don't know how in the heck we missed placing that on our itinerary) and sprinted to the falls before the sun set. We all got so excited and it was definitely one of the top waterfalls we had seen all trip. It was empty of tourists because it was so late in the day. The water was huge, majestic, and again a gorgeous hue of aqua blue. Best detour ever!!
Even though we were all extremely tired, we had just driven in to Akureyri, one of the biggest northern cities in Iceland. We hadn't been in a big city for a good few days now, so Janae and I pulled our butts up from the couch, put on some cute lipstick, and we all headed over to Græni Hatturinn, a pub/bar area to watch and Icelandic rapper perform. Honestly, we loved the vibe because we felt like such locals. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were the only non-locals there. We all ordered a glass of Tuborg Lager and sat at a table right in front of the performers. He started off fully clothed, but started taking off one shoe... then the other shoe... then his shirt.. (don't worry that's all he took off) and revealed a bunch of drawings on his body (some inappropriate and some not). On his stomach he wrote a big arrow pointing down towards his stomach to the words "this machine kills falafels". He had a couple little phallic images drawn on his arm and sides, and a huge one on his back. We honestly didn't understand a word he said because the rap was 90% in Icelandic. All we could catch were the swear words because those were the only things he said in English heh. At one point, he even stood on the chair at our table right next to Janae and started dancing and rapping like crazy. Wei even tried to hand him a beer when he was up there, but he didn't take it. The beats they dropped were pretty sick and we were diggin the feels of all his songs. It was a crazy fun local spot and did not regret mustering up the energy to explore that not one bit.