That’s really what it felt like!
The north area of Iceland around Lake Myvtan is incredibly unique. Due to some huge volcanic eruptions in the area, the region is sprinkled with numerous craters. This (Hverfall) being one that quickly catches your eye on the horizon:
This crater is over 1 km wide, almost 3000 years old, and one of the largest in the whole world. We walked the rim, taking in views of the whole area:
And just across the road is Krafla, with yet another cute crater.
When we truly felt like we walked off the planet was as we drove up over the now red sandy hills into Hverir, a field of sulphur hot springs.
This expansive area is full of bubbling mud pots and steaming fumaroles (which is like a vent in the Earth’s surface to release volcanic gases and steam) with spectacular colors created by all the minerals in the area.
Despite the stunning colors and sheer size of these pots, the Hverir area is completely uninhabitable. Temperatures in the pools are the hottest in Iceland, reaching over 200 degrees. This hostile and acidic environment inhibits growth of any other vegetation… which you quickly come to understand upon your arrival when your senses are overwhelmed by the strong sulphur smell. Our lungs probably lost a couple years of their life expectancy breathing in all the hydrogen sulphide…
And as if that wasn’t cool enough, look at what we discovered deep down within this inconspicuous cave opening:
A beautiful hot spring! How lovely would it have been to bathe here, relaxing in the crystal clear warm waters of this serene little cavern? But, in recent years swimming has been banned as the temperatures have risen too high to be safe for people. Sad face.