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Driving Iceland’s Neglected North – The Latest York Times


Leaving the lake the following day, we got down to explore the northern roads of the Diamond Circle, heading first for Dettifoss falls.

As Gullfoss waterfall is to the Golden Circle, Dettifoss is to the Diamond. With a 330-foot-wide pounding curtain of water, Europe’s strongest falls sprayed the extensive gorge-side viewing platforms and walkways, icing the paths.

Travel Trends That Will Define 2022

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Looking ahead. As governments internationally loosen coronavirus restrictions, the travel industry hopes this can be the 12 months that travel comes roaring back. Here is what to anticipate:

Lodging. Through the pandemic, many travelers discovered the privacy offered by rental residences. Hotels hope to compete again by offering stylish extended-stay properties, sustainable options, rooftop bars and co-working spaces.

Rental cars. Travelers can expect higher prices, and older cars with high mileage, since corporations still haven’t been in a position to expand their fleets. Searching for an alternate? Automotive-sharing platforms is perhaps a more cost-effective option.

Cruises. Despite a bumpy begin to the 12 months, due to Omicron’s surge, demand for cruises stays high. Luxury expedition voyages are particularly appealing straight away, because they typically sail on smaller ships and steer away from crowded destinations.

Destinations. Cities are officially back: Travelers are desirous to dive into the sights, bites and sounds of a metropolis like Paris or Latest York. For a more relaxing time, some resorts within the U.S. are pioneering an almost all-inclusive model that takes the guesswork out of planning a vacation.

Experiences. Travel options centered around sexual wellness (think couples retreats and beachfront sessions with intimacy coaches) are growing popular. Trips with an academic bent, meanwhile, are increasingly wanted by families with children.

Each Dettifoss and our next destination, Asbyrgi, 20 miles north, are a part of the northern branch of Vatnajokull National Park, which incorporates rather more inaccessible wilderness, including the Vatnajokull ice cap in southeast Iceland.

The elliptical canyon was made, based on Norse mythology, by the god Odin’s eight-legged flying horse, who left a hoof print on earth. It’s an apt setting for otherworldly legends. The mossy forest surrounding a spring-fed lake at the top of the canyon seemed a fitting home for the “huldufolk” or hidden those that many Icelanders consider live here.

From the canyon, the Diamond route continues about 15 miles northwest to the Tjornes Peninsula, skirting fossilized sea cliffs and turning south at Skjalfandi Bay toward Husavik, the oldest settlement in Iceland and, more recently, the whale-watching capital of the country. A picket church in-built 1907 overlooks its protected harbor, stuffed with tall-masted picket ships and fishing trawlers, many now run by whale-watching corporations. Facing the harbor, the excellent Husavik Whale Museum exhibits lots of the species that sailors may even see, including an 82-foot-long blue whale skeleton.

Rough seas cancelled boat launches that day, and we settled for scanning the horizon for the telltale blowhole sprays of humpback whales from the fashionable cliff-top Geosea spa just north of Husavik. The spa channels geothermally heated seawater into pools and, like so many baths in Iceland that cater to tourists, has a wade-up bar.

We spent our last morning within the north climbing the jagged Dimmuborgir lava field near our cabin with its castle-like volcanic rock formations — occupied by trolls, based on signage — before leaving Lake Myvatn. Rejoining the Ring Road, we closed the Diamond loop at Godafoss, one other jaw-dropping plunge loaded with legends. Here, when the island converted to Christianity across the 12 months 1000, Iceland’s leader is claimed to have thrown all his pagan idols into the churning pool created by the semi-circular drop of the Skjalfandafljot river. The betrayal so angered the gods that they split the falls in two.

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