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Beyond the Wall: An Icelandic Game of Thrones Tour

ICELAND | Saturday, 15 March 2014 | Views [2707]

Goðafoss waterfall up north near Akureyri

Goðafoss waterfall up north near Akureyri

I admit I’m not the biggest Game of Thrones fan out there. Blasphemy? Well, maybe. I read the first four of the A Song of Ice and Fire books back in the early to mid-2000’s and sort of gave up; too many characters, too many subplots, and just not enough interest in any of it. And then the TV series came out which dragged me back into that world. I found myself appreciating the parsed plotlines, the limited number of characters and the amazing visual aspects of the world that the TV show created. I was hooked.

With that in mind and a trip to Iceland planned I thought maybe it would be fun to go check out where some of the Game of Thrones scenes were filmed. So after booking my flight to Reykjavik’s Keflavik international airport I then booked a domestic flight out of the Reykjavik domestic airport and up to Akureyri in the far north, an hour-long flight or a six-hour bus ride if you have the time.

And thus we come to our tour: the Travel Viking’s Myvatn Mystery & Magic Game of Thrones Tour.

 

I was picked up bright and early by my tour guide of the day, Jon, in a big solid-looking jeep. We stopped by to pick up another girl and our tour was off – and an almost private one at that, which was really nice.

 First up was Goðafoss, a stunning waterfall surrounded by snow-peaked mountains. Our jeep definitely came in handy getting here. Photos duly taken we then made our way up into the mountains as our tour guide, Jon, talked about the filming of Game of Thrones. He stopped the jeep a couple of times and brought out an iPad to show us where some scenes had been filmed.Mostly we saw scenes of Jon and Ygritte and various wildlings. He pointed out where some of the filming was and we could compare with his video clips.

And then we were off again, this time to visit some Yule-lads, the 13 Icelandic Santas, which had been turned to stone due to the bright rays of the sun. Sadly all we could see were great big rock formations that, according to our tour guide Jon, were all that remained of a troll party caught by sunshine.

By this point I was shivering so a stop for lunch at a lovely little café on the way and some time for me to bask in the sun from the large windows that surrounded the restaurant. We then piled into the jeep, popped down into a grjotagja, an underground cave, where there was steamy warm water at the bottom. Alas, swimming was not to happen until a bit later on as our next stop was Hverir, full of bubbling mud pits and steam vents. It was somewhat reminiscent of New Zeland’s bubbling pits of Rotorua but it was completely surrounded by snow. Very surreal!

Fun Game of Thrones fact: when Sam was being chased by a white walker in a blizzard he was actually running through the sulfurous steam of Hverir with snowy sound effects added in.

Muddied but happy, we were next off to the Myvatn Nature Baths for a nice soak. The Icelanders sure do like their baths (I believe they are called hot pots there? Very strange. I feel like I’m dinner if I’m simmering in a hot pot!). After that we made our way down the mountain and into downtown Akureyri.

My thoughts on this tour were that it felt a little expensive for being billed as a Game of Thrones tour. We definitely chatted about the books and the show in the jeep, and got to see some places where filming happened but I was sort of hoping for just a bit more. It felt like a normal Myvatn tour with Game of Thrones tacked on to raise the price. However, with that said Jon was an amazing tour guide and very amenable to changes we might have or how long we wanted to stay places. Also, as there were only two people on my tour (myself and a lovely quiet girl from the UK) the price was definitely right. It was a fun experience and now I can say that I’ve been “beyond the wall”.

The Game of Thrones tour will most likely run until summer 2015. Details can be found here:
http://www.ttv.is/en/winter/myvatn-mystery-magic

Good luck and beware, winter is coming!!

Tags: akureyri, game of thrones, got, hot springs, iceland, jeep tour, mud pits, waterfall

 

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