After a nice night's sleep in a nice warm bed, I headed off to have a look around Steinsstaðabyggð. Lots of places starting with Reykja here, I was looking for some natural hot pot I could walk off to.
No real luck though. Plenty of evidence of steaming springs, but all small, and all on farms, and it was too densely populated to just sort of stroll into someone's front paddock and start poking around looking for a swimming hole. My road book mentioned that the pool here was old and famous, and had been used for centuries, so I thought there might be an old natural pool, and I'm sure there was, but now there was just an ordinary pool. Lovely I'm sure, but I'd just come from a hotel with hot showers and beds, I didn't need a pool like this just yet.
So I headed out to the main road. Almost completely forgetting about Reykjafoss! Reykjafoss is marked on the map in my roadbook, but not in the text, and it's not signposted at all. I guess the locals don't anyone seeing it or something? Not sure why.
I only remembered it by chance. Driving down some side roads I saw some odd looking buildings, looking almost like tiny air traffic control towers. Driving through some open gates and having a poke around I found that I'd discovered the Skagafjörður Horse meet facilities. Not the everyday horsetrack, it seems that like the horses themselves, horse competitions are different in iceland.
But, back to the waterfall. The parking lot at the meet house was by the edge of a creek, and looking up I saw some mist and remembered the waterfall. I took a hike up there. It's quite a nice set of falls, turning 90 degrees to cascade then turning back 90 again to flow north to the sea. So you get a nice viewpoint :) There was also, surprisingly, a second smallstream, and a rundown old fish ladder coming in on the left, joining up in the pool at the bottom of the falls. I went for a walk up this side, and around, there was patches of steam everywhere. I came out right on top of the falls, and although I found plenty of little warm water bubblers and steamers, there was never enough in anyone place to make a warm swim a possibility. I know there must be somewhere, but the farmers and their daughters are keeping it a secret for now.
I burnt on off to Akureyri. Found a nice monument here, purely by chance, pulling off the roadside to take some pictures and have a look around, and found a monument commemorating having a bitumen sealed road all the way between Reykjavik and Akureyri. What an achievement!
Along this stretch of road were lots of mushrooms. I'd seen these once or twice in Reykjavik, and a few of them at Reykjafoss, but along the road they were everywhere. Great big monsters. Falling apart and leaking evil black juice everywhere. They were growing in the road shoulders, in big clumps. Not a place I'm used to seeing mushrooms grow. Perfect conditions, autumn and lots of moisture, but this was quite unexpected. Later on (the joy of writing in the future) I learnt that these are called Blekksveppir in icelandic, which means ink mushrooms. In english they are boringly called Shaggy Mane. This would be a suitable name however if they didn't get wet. I think it's just when they get wet and old that they dissolve into black evil goop. For the curious after specifics, these are Coprinus comatus.
I turned off near Akureyri down a side road, following a curly loop sign, but the posted viking age landing and trading site wasn't really all that worth seeing. Took some nice pictures on the drive though :)
Pulling into Akureyri, I found I had germans to keep me company again. I did meet a lovely canadian couple here who showed me some cool folding kitchen utensils. Neat stuff.
After a lucious dinner, where I took up an entire picnic table with pineapple, stirfrys and all the accoutrements, I headed into town to check out Akureyri on the weekend. Well, not straight away. First I went to a cafe and had some coffees, and played on the computer, working on Open Street Map I'd been collecting tracks with newish gps, and I'd been working on the map of reykjavik in prior weeks as well. Now that I was heading around the country, hitting up all sorts of side roads it was time to fill in blank squares of map!
Eventually though, it was proper night time, time to get rid of the laptop.
Coming back into town, I heard loud music coming from a doorway, and strolled in. Turns out it wasn't really a quiet sneaky side show, but a band rehearsing. At midnight. They were happy to let me stay, and offer comments and insults, and even try and play bass for a while. I can't really play bass, no matter what time of night it is. I can hear it in my head, and I can see what I want to pluck and when, I just can't make it connect up like that in real life. Oh well :)
Never really went out much further than that. One of these guys had been working in the cafe I'd been working in, so we just kept crossing the road getting road beers to have in the rehearsal space. A nice night all told, and upon rising the next day, I was greeted with warm sunshine and blue skies. A very pleasant change, and a lovely welcome to the north.