DAY 1: COASTAL odyssey
The route for day 1
Driving time: 4 hours
Day 1, stop 1: Midlina
Our first stop was Midlina - the bridge between continents.

This 50ft footbridge separates a pretty dramatic chasm between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Apparently you can get a certificate from the Information Centre on the other side, to prove that you've walked from Europe to North America, but we were too busy admiring the rugged rock formations to indulge - so the reader will have to take our word for it!


Day 1, stop 2: Gunnuhver hot springs
The second stop of the day was one I was especially excited about: Gunnuhver hot springs, home to the largest mud pool in the country (20m wide if you're counting).

These springs are located in a highly active geothermal field of mud pools and steam vents. The ground is terracotta-coloured and, as would be the case for the majority of the trip, we were the only people there, so were treated to our own private steam show amdist the distinctive red, Martian scenery.

As is the case for many of Iceland's natural phenomena, this location had a rather macabre story behind it - and the sulphur-infused steam added to the eerie atmosphere.

They say that Gunnuhver was named after a ghost, Gudrun (nicknamed Gunna). Gunnna was a crofter, but fell behind on the rent and couldn't pay. The landowner took the only thing she owned: a cooking pot.

Gunna wasn't too pleased with this, and went mad with rage before dropping dead.

But on the way to the graveyard, the people carrying Gunna's coffin noticed that it had become suspiciously light...and when the grave was being dug, they heard the words: 'No need deep to dig, no plans long to lie…'

It was Gunna - transformed into a hateful ghost.

Apparently the next night saw the violent demise of her old landowner: his body was found outside, full of broken bones.

Gunna had got her revenge, but it was short-lived: afterwards, a priest doomed her to walk the field for eternity, never to be at peace...
Day 1, stop 3: Akranes lighthouses
Our penultimate stop before reaching the hotel was the lighthouses by the harbour in Akranes.

There are two - the larger of which has been transformed into a gallery showing off local art. You can climb to the top and enjoy a pretty breathtaking view.

A good stop for any photography fans!
Day 1, stop 4: Gerduberg basalt columns
Last on the list for day one was the Gerduberg basalt columns - an imposing geometric rock formation.

If you're wearing decent footwear and don't mind a few moments of terror, you can climb to the top for lovely views.

Or, if you're like the two tourists who were there at the same time as us, you could spend 40 minutes picking up chunks of ice from the stream at the foot of the rock formation and breaking them on your own head in an attempt to get the perfect pic for the 'gram.

...The choice is yours.

We stayed at Við Hafið Guesthouse. Rooms were small and basic with shared bathroom facilities, but it was a lovely atmosphere, and there were shared living areas and a big kitchen to cook in.

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