Iceland Road Trip Part 2/3 – Seals and Sorcery

Originally posted: 6 August 2017

Day 3 – Raudsdalur to Flatey

Woke up and decided we would try and get our tyre fixed before calling the car rental company. Our streak of good weather was over and overnight the rain had started.

Once we were all packed up we drove a few km down the road to the next farm, pulled in and were directed to one of the sheds. Backyard garage but it was massive, after a quick look they told us they couldn’t fix it and we would need a new tyre and they also did not have a tyre in our size – great.

The man there was trying to call a shop in Isafjordur to see if they had one but he couldn’t get through. We decided to head back to the hostel to make a plan.  We gave the car rental place a call, at first she said we should get the ferry back to Stykkisholmur (no thank you) but then she said there were 4 places in Isafjordur that we should be able to change tyre at and she would email me the details. We jumped in the car because we had a long drive now, mostly gravel roads and we could not drive too fast.

Stopped at a petrol station to fill up and check tyre pressure, it wasn’t an automatic air hose it was manual. I went inside to ask the girl for a gauge to check the pressure, she pulled out a few and said I don’t know what to do with them but I’ve seen people use these? I said I did and thank you! (Thanks for teaching me basic car skills Dad).

Once we were all ready we headed off on a shocking gravel road, we drove 44km in an hour and a half. We stopped for about 45 minutes at Dynjandi waterfall, amazing! So huge, total waterfall height is 100m! We walked all the way to the top, halfway up my camera battery died and I didn’t have the spare on me. Oh well!

Dynjandi Waterfall

We still had a long way to go to Isafjordur and the tyre shops closed at 5pm, so we jumped in the car and had lunch on the road.

Beautiful scenery the whole way, just before Isafjordur we drove through another huge tunnel. This one was 6km through the mountains and one lane. We had right of way so every time a car came towards us they would use one of the many alcoves to pull in so we could pass. We arrived in Isafjordur at 4:30pm (took two hours to travel 85km).

Drove to the first garage on the list, couldn’t of found a less helpful mechanic. Slowly dragged his butt off the chair, looked at the tyre and then said he didn’t have our size – wonderful. Went to the next on the list, again no tyre our size.  We rushed to the next two as it was almost 5pm and again had no luck with the damn replacement tyre! We called our car rental office and she told us to go to the hostel and she would call and find one nearby for the next day, I told her our plans so that we hopefully wouldn’t have to back track.

We were pretty buggered at this stage so we drove back through the tunnel to the hostel about 20 minutess away.  Cooked up dinner and had an early night (and by early I mean midnight).

Day 4 – Flatey to Holmavik

Woke up to an email from the car rental office, she had found a garage with our tyre size in Budardalur – an hour south of Holmavik. It was going to be a big day so we had brekky, got packed up and were off.

First stop was the Arctic Fox Centre in Sudavik.  It was really informative, lots of information about their diet, different types of foxes, where they live, their history in Iceland, hunting, effects of tourism on them. At the end we went out the back to look at the two foxes they had there.  They had been orphaned 3 years earlier when a hunter killed their mother. It was nice to see them up close seeing as our chances of seeing them in the wild were slim.

Arctic Fox Fun Facts

  • The Arctic fox is Iceland’s only native land mammal
  • There are 20 different names for Arctic Fox in Icelandic
  • Arctic foxes have over 20,000 hairs per cm2 in their winter coats (humans 150!)
  • Arctic foxes do not shiver until -70⁰c
  • Arctic foxes are found in 3 colour morphs, White, Blue and Beige

We finished up and set off, about an hour later we pulled over as there were lots of seals all over the rocks. Only stayed a little while because we had to get to the garage before it closed.  Back on the road and headed off, we drove out of the Westfjords region, past our turn off to Holmavik and continued on to Budardalur. Amazing the difference in scenery once we headed a bit south, a lot more agriculture saw countless horses, cows, sheep etc.  We arrived at Bildudalur, a tiny town that had one street less than 1km long, I wasn’t overly optimistic by the time we turned into the garage.

We waited for the mechanic to finish fixing a tractor tyre, had a look at our tyre, said we needed a new one (yes we know) aaaand then said he didn’t have one in our size.  He paused after saying this, long enough for me to die inside and dread tomorrow where we would still be on the hunt for a damn tyre. But then! He said he had one a size smaller that he could put on the rear and move the rear tyre to the front. I asked if that was alright to do that and he said “yes of course I will not fuck you up”. Alright then thanks lad!

Took him less than 10 minutes to switch the tyres and put the new one on, it then took him over 10 minutes to attach the spare tyre back under the car. I couldn’t understand but I think there was a lot of swearing in Icelandic.

He gave us a ticket to take into the desk to pay.  Given it is expensive to do anything in Iceland I had mentally prepared myself for at least $500 for the tyre. Handed over the ticket… 3744ISK. Checked the exchange rate on my phone… $46. FORTY. SIX. DOLLARS. I almost cried with happiness, what is Iceland??  It costs more to get a damn meal than to replace a tyre! I practically skipped out of the garage! We jumped back in the car and headed off.  I was so happy, I got to drive the speed limit again, the sun even came out for the first time since we had had the flat tyre. It was like we had been in some dark dreary world and now we had our tyre it was sunshine and rainbows! Drove back the same route to Holmavik, the sunshine lasted all the way to Holmavik and then the clouds rolled back in again.

We checked in to our dorms and they were double bed bunks, with flat screens! Five star hostel wow. Cooked up a delicious green curry for dinner and went for a walk after dinner. Once again asleep after midnight!

Day 5 – Holmavik to Akureyri

First stop of the day was the Icelandic Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery, absolutely fascinating! All about the history of witches in Iceland and the continuing practice of it today.  Lots of grimoires with different spells, things like how to get wealthy, be healthy etc.  but also a bit more unusual were things like how to make your cat get pregnant without mating?  There were also necropants on display… disgusting. Essentially a witch would make a pact with a man that after he died he could dig him up, skin him from waist down, and then wear the skin like pants.  You would then put a coin in the scrotum and the idea was that while there was a coin in the scrotum you would have never-ending money! But you had to be careful because if you died wearing the necropants then your body would rot… nice!  History of witches in Iceland is different to other countries in that majority of the witches were men, of the 21 that were burnt only one was female.

Spent over an hour there before heading off, we drove steadily, stopped for lunch and some horse pictures. At one stage the mist was so thick we could barely see 5m ahead of us! Finally got to route 1 and said goodbye to the Westfjords.

Didn’t stop much as we had a 3:30pm booking for a beer spa! We got in a bit late but it wasn’t a problem. Black building (kind of unusual in Iceland) with snow capped mountains all around and sitting next to the lake, beautiful! We got changed into our robes – fancy, and were shown to our private beer spa room.  The tub is freshly filled just for us, literally filled with beer. We had 25 minutes in there, and there was a beer tap next to us which was drink as much as you want. Getting in it was a bit slimy to begin with but after a while it was really quite nice and our skin felt very soft.

Once our time was up we got shown upstairs to the “quiet” room, there were already a bunch of couples there, we got shown to our seats. The lady started wrapping Sian like a cocoon, and I just lost it I could not stop laughing. It was the most ridiculous thing, we were in a beer spa but were being treated like we were in a 5-star luxury beauty spa. The lady said as she was leaving that we didn’t have to stay for the full 25 minutes if we didn’t want to – haha ok. Anyway the room slowly cleared – probably because Sian and I kept giggling… we finished our 25 minutes then went downstairs to get dressed.  That was a great experience!

We drove about 30 minutes to get to Akureyri – the self proclaimed capital of the north and our stay for the night.  We were too tired to cook dinner so we got something from the bar – I had a salmon with mash and a green sauce, amazing!

After dinner we went for a walk around the town, the best part about midnight sun is being able to go for late night walks. Went back to the room and were bed by 11 (earliest night so far!)

Day 6 – Akureyri to Husavik

We had a full day of sightseeing today and were out the door at 9am. First stop was Godafoss, gotta say it is quite obvious that we are now back on the tourist route! So many people everywhere! It was raining a bit so we didn’t stay out too long, did a bit of a walk and took a few photos then back in the car.

Next stop was Skutustadir – a bunch of craters that had been made from lava hitting the water causing explosions which had then made super craters. Really beautiful!


We headed towards Dimmuborgir, stopping along the way for lunch.  Dimmuborgir is a large field with unusually shaped lava and caves, all black formations but surrounded by greenery.  We did one of the shorter walks only about 20 minutes, which was probably enough.

Lunch enroute to Dimmuborgir

Next up was Namafjall, the closer we got the stronger the sulphur smell!  Namafjall was a bunch of hot springs, all bubbling and steaming. Signs everywhere saying do not touch (something tells me in the past a real intelligent person decided to touch the bubbling water). We did a quick walk around because it was raining, despite the rain it was quite warm because of the hot springs.

We drove through Krafla to get to Viti. Krafla is a geothermal power station, pipes everywhere including a tunnel shaped section so cars can drive through. Viti was a crater with a hot spring in the middle (again signs saying do not touch because 100 degrees!) beautiful milky blue colour.


We were pretty tired at this stage so were keen for our last stop – Myvatn Nature Baths.

Arrived at 3pm to the baths, it was our alternative to going to the Blue Lagoon and it did not disappoint. We got changed into our swimmers, raced outside into the cold and got in the pool. Different pools ranging from 36 to 41 degrees. We had bought beer bracelets which meant we just stuck our hand in the air and they would come get our beer for us – Bueno! We spent almost 2 hours there tried out each of the pools – took some photos that did not look like the travel bloggers we have seen.

Myvatn Nature Baths
Expectation vs Reality

Back on the road, stopped at a small grocer for some dinner ingredients. We continued on, took a wrong turn down a random dirt road and interrupted a wedding photoshoot, oops! Finally arrived at our hostel, another farm yay! Had leftover curry, made some corn fritters for lunch the next day. Had a walk around to look at the horses and cows then went to bed!

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Hey, I'm Shannon!
I've been travelling since I was 6 years old and have been lucky enough to visit 70 countries! From overlanding through Africa and road-tripping in Samoa to Salsa-ing in Cuba and visiting wineries in India. I love new adventures and can't wait to share them with you in this blog!