We were treated to a snowfall during our May arrival in Akureyri. Many of the ship’s crew, being from tropical places like Indonesia and The Philippines, had never seen snow in their lives. As we arrived in port, snow was still on the ground, which was quite amazing for the second week in May.
Our tour today, once again took us to see some of the most spectacular scenery in Iceland. Our first stop was the horseshoe shaped Godafoss. These falls are not only beautiful, but also the site where, when Iceland decided to convert to Christianity, that the tribal leader sent the carvings of the old gods over the falls in a symbolic end to their worship.
Next we headed out to see some of the scenery where many movies have been made, including the setting for “Beyond the Wall” in Game of Thrones. Much of the popular HBO show’s Season Two was filmed here. The scenery was so striking in the light snow fall. We visited Dimmuborgir – the Dark Fortress at Mývatn, where the Christmas pranksters the Yule Lads live. This “fortress” created by jagged lava flow, comes to life at Christmas time with thousands of lights and lighthearted performances by the locals who portray the Yule Lads, Christmas folk characters of Iceland. In this same area, we also saw “false craters’ which is where hot lava flows over a water source heats up and explodes creating a “false crater”. We were also taken to the hot spring cave that was the inspiration for a famous love scene in Game of Thrones between John Snow and Egrette. The cave interior was actually recreated on a movie set.
Truly the most remarkable features we enjoyed this day was the stunning combination of fire and ice. The combination of the snow covering volcanic landscape is something that I will never forget. As we headed back to the ship, we even stopped on the scenic road out of town to take pictures of our cruise ship, and also passed by a city thermally heated pool. In typical Icelandic fashion, despite the cool weather, there were children climbing the open stairs to slide to take a plunge into the thermal pool.