On Monday I may have mentioned I was off to see Dimmu Borgir. Whilst I am here in Iceland for a music festival, I’m not there yet, and Dimmu Borgir aren’t playing it anyway. The Icelandic Dimmu Borgir is in fact a lava field containing large and imaginatively shaped lava formations, many of which resemble castles or trolls’ houses (or in fact trolls themselves..). This is where the name comes from (it means Dark City in Icelandic). It was much less noisy than a metal gig, although fear not ear-assault fans, the musical variety of rock and indeed the odd bit of metal will begin later today! Dimmu Borgir is also home to the troll-family of cheeky Yule lads, their troll-parents and their evil Jólakötturinn. They hide in caves here during the summer then appear over the winter and cause mischief in the run up to Christmas. Who needs Santa Claus when you have 13 yule lads?
I really just wanted to show you some pictures of the rest of yesterday’s explorations around Mývatn. The scenery is utterly stunning, and we were lucky with the weather too. No rain! No fog! No snow! No wind! Ok so no sun either and so much cloud there was absolutely no hope of the Northern Lights later on, but it did mean we didn’t need to wrap up like mummies and that the lake was as still as a mirror:
We also found some mud geysers at Hverir. These aren’t really much to look at in a photo but there’s a small plain full of teeny tiny hissing, steaming and bubbling spots in the ground. There’s so many of them that every time you look you see more of them, and the grin gets bigger and the pointing gets more excited. Well it does if you’re me – the ground ain’t supposed to bubble! There’s also a bigger pool of mud, about 2m x 1m, which noticeably (and audibly) bubbles and gloops at you like a mad scientist’s cauldron. Which as you might expect, is enough to keep me enthralled for hours.
You probably don’t want to hear that after seeing these bizarre and uniquely Icelandic sights, we drove to Húsavík where everything was shut, including the pubs and the famous Phallological Museum. Yes, that’s right, a museum of penises. Or is is penii? Anyway, it prides itself in having an example of a penis from every species of mammal that can be found on Iceland, apart from a human one (although if you’re desperate I’m told you can go and find one to take home on any Friday night in downtown Reykjavík). A helpful notice on the door from the curator left a phone number to ring if we were “keen to see the exhibits”, offering to open the museum up if he was in town. We thought about it for about 5 seconds but despite being keen, we reckoned we didn’t really want to admit we were keen, so went to pester the man next door at the Whale museum instead. )Just to clarify we went to look at the whale skeletons, not to ask to see his bits).
The Whale museum was opened up specially too, but remember it’s the winter season in Iceland, and that’s how things work outside of the capital, seeing as there are better things to do than hang around in museums waiting for odd foreign tourists to take pictures of themselves standing next to 10 foot high wooden willies (phallological museum, remember…). With the levels of excitement running this high, we decided we’d best get going back to Mývatn as we didn’t fancy driving on this road in the dark:
On our way to Mývatn Nature Baths (an outdoor, geothermically heated swimming pool and spa, along similar lines to the Blue Lagoon but in a much more stunning setting), we had to drive past the lake itself just before sunset. I’m going to leave you with a couple of pictures of it, because a) I need to get on a plane back to Reykjavík, and b) I don’t think sunsets need words.
I may see some of you at Airwaves, where I have absolutely no idea where I need to be and when. All I have is a schedule with some scribbles on and some beer money, so I’m just going to turn up at a bar and see what happens. I could list all the bands I want to see but I suspect that would just involve showing you the schedule…. So. To Reykjavík!