For the last couple of days, Mike and I have been hanging out around lake Myvatn (which is supposedly pronounced Mee-vawt and is a compound of words meaning “midges” and “water”). Both midges and water are readily apparent, so I guess it’s aptly named.

The lake is a far cry from any Midwestern lake, if that’s what you’re picturing. This lake is surrounded by lava rock and pseudocraters. The lake itself is so convoluted in its shape that there are a ton of tiny inlets and secluded areas. I’m surprised there aren’t more homes lining its shores.

A mud pot at Hverir

Then again, I’m not surprised at all — the midges are enough to drive anyone mad. These tiny fly-like bugs swarm in the hundreds or thousands at times. They don’t bite, but apparently they’re attracted to carbon dioxide, so they tend to swarm people’s faces. They rush into your mouth and fly up your nose and flutter about your eyes. They’re not constantly present, but when they turn up, you’d best have a head net handy.

Mike swarmed by midges

We bandit camped for the past two nights in the same spot and went for a reduced-load bike ride yesterday. We went to an area just east of the lake called Krafla. There we explored lava rocks, a crater lake, and a geothermal power plant. The power plant looked like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Lava rocks

Mike biking beneath some pipes at the Krafla geothermal power plant

Icelanders’ love of ice cream continues to amaze us, though we’ve been helping ourselves to some more and more often since the weather has been warm and rainless for a while now. This is the Iceland I had hoped for, weather-wise. The one downside is the amount of flesh my eyes have been subjected to as a result. Although I’m still wearing long sleeves and pants, most Icelanders take this warmth to mean they should shed most of their clothing. Campsites are always packed with middle-aged and retired persons, smoking and drinking and hooting around their RVs. Now that it’s warm, they’re doing so with their giant potbellies hanging out. Yesterday as we were walking around the lava fields, a woman passed us waving her shirt around in her hands. She wasn’t wearing a sports bra or swimsuit top but just a ratty old white bra. The day before, we stopped to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the side of the road near a bridge. The next thing we knew, a man and his wife in an RV pulled off the road right behind us, pulled out some lawn chairs, and sat themselves right in front of the RV for no apparent reason. The man, of course, was topless, showing off his belly and saggy man boobs. TMI, I’m sure. Moving on . . .

We’re heading northwest now. I think we’re going to take a ferry north to a small island that sits within the arctic circle. Maybe we’ll even see some whales on the way. That’s a few days off though, since we still have to bike there first. I’ll be sure to give you an update later.

Viti, the crater lake I mentioned

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