17 December 2012

Iceland Day 2 – The Golden Circle

We spent our first night in Iceland in a beautiful loft apartment in Reykjavik, which I sourced from Airbnb.
The next morning, Linda kindly prepared breakfast for everyone – toast, fried ham (instead of bacon, haha), potato salad, and some other spreads we got from Bonus supermarket. Normally, I would try to take at least ONE photo to document the moment, but on this occasion it was too early and I was still half-asleep as we packed our things into the car to begin our Ring Road adventure.

Also, the weather made a complete turnaround. Woke up to monotone grey out the window and lots of rain!

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Our plan for the day was to drive the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is one of Iceland’s most popular things to do – It’s basically a driving route that takes you through to three main attractions in southwest Iceland, namely Þingvellir National Park (pronounced ‘thing-vetlir’ – ll is said as tl), Geysir, and Gullfoss Waterfall.

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Just LOOK at the landscape! Like big pillows of moss that you can bounce on.

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This is me hard at play.

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It was extremely overcast that day and so the photos turned out a little dull.. even though it was FAR from a dull day! I had so much fun it didn’t matter if it rained all day.

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In fact, at one point as we were driving towards Þingvellir and wanted to stop to take photos/sightsee.. we had to turn the car JUST to accommodate the wind direction. Or we could only wind down the windows on one side of the car, because the wind was so SUPER STRONG that the rain was whizzing by completely sideways. Like tiny water bullets! I was pelted like mad (so fun!).

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There was a lot of ice on the way.

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Go figure! (crappy pic taken from moving car using iPhone)

Þingvellir National Park

OK – this section will no doubt be the lamest section of my Iceland posts because.. here’s what happened:

We arrived at the car park of the Þingvellir tourist information centre, picked up maps and everything. I don’t know what – maybe SHEER DETERMINATION – made us think that we could beat the rain + wind and take a walk around the park to see sightsee. EVEN THOUGH the visibility was so low!

Spent ages layering and gearing up. I put my phone in my nifty Aquapac case. Fleece on. Beanie on. Hood on, tightened, and zipped up fully. Laces re-tied. Waterproof gloves on.

Went out.. and got BLASTED by the freezing wind and rain! We lasted about 5 minutes before realising that our ‘nice walk to explore the national park’ was.. RATHER POINTLESS. So we ran back into the car and left.

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This was one of the only pics taken during the ‘walk’ (via iPhone in Aquapac case) – the shittiness of the weather was not captured..

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Oh and there was this too – from the shop in the info centre. Imagine! Doing yoga in a glacier lagoon. Is that really relaxing?? HMMM I’m uncertain.

Anyhow, I’m not too bummed that I ‘missed out’ on this part of the trip. I think this national park is probably best seen in the summer anyway. 😉

Geysir

Ok, first of all, Geysir is a geyser which forms part of the Haukadalur geothermal area. It’s not the only geyser present in this area, and it’s also known as ‘The Great Geysir’ or Stori-Geysir. However, Geysir eruptions are very infrequent and sometimes you may even wait YEARS for the next one. In Haukadalur there are also the Litli Geysir and Strokkur geysers.

Strokkur is located just 50m south of Geysir.

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I MUST take a moment to mention the amazingly delectable LAMB SOUP that was served in the tourist centre across the road! I’ve never had such tasty lamb soup in my life… I think I might have gone to heaven as I ate.

We were in the cafeteria to wait out the rain before going out to explore. The great thing about winter season is that there weren’t many people around and the atmosphere was rather relaxing. Can you imagine if the whole place was inundated with tour buses and a bazillion people, and you had to queue up to buy food, pay for souvenirs, use the toilet, etc?? Hehe

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This is Strokkur geyser.

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Jason + Linda
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The ground was just steaming everywhere.. I call them Earth farts. Yeah they smell too (sulphur).

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Me with my trusty Aquapac. Half of the photos in this post were taken using it.

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Some people had their tripods set up around the geyser. Everyone stood in a circle around it, watching and waiting.

This was a RELIABLE geyser! We saw it spurt out hot water like a water volcano a number of times.

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Unfortunately, I underestimated the size of the eruptions and stood too near the hole each time to get a better photo..  (also, I was maybe a bit over-excited and wanted to go as close as possible).

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The novelty of an erupting geyser wears off pretty quick. For me, anyway, especially since I’d seen them in New Zealand before (last year).

Then the most happy thing happened – there was a break in the clouds, the sun shone through, and a huge RAINBOW appeared!

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As the sun began to go down, the ice on the ground began glistening brightly. It was so beautiful!

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Super-charged with new sunshine + rainbow ENERGY, we took jumped around and took some fun photos (it’s become a recurring theme on all my holidays now).

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Gullfoss

Gullfoss waterfall is arguably Iceland’s most popular waterfalls. It’s located in the canyon of Hvítá river and it is.. rather huge and incredible-looking.

We didn’t stop for too long here.. I mean. You see the waterfall, you take some pics.. what.. else.. right? Plus it was freeezing :p

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Stay tuned for the nextttt post.. where we meet some Greenlandic sled dogs!

3 Comments

laura |

I did this trip in November and also had the lamb soup – it was amazing. Just what you need after being sprayed with icy water wandering down to Gulfoss!

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