3/28/14 was our 2nd and final day in Iceland and we took a bus tour of the “Golden Circle”. The first stop was the Haukadular geothermal area. This place was pretty cool, right on par with Yellowstone. It has a geyser that goes off every 5-10 minutes, which definitely gives you a chance to see it more often than you would Old Faithful. Interesting tidbit, the word geyser actually comes from the Icelandic word “geysir”.
The next stop was the Gollfuss waterfall. This thing was grand in scale and absolutely beautiful. As an added bonus, the Langjokull glacier was also near the same spot and visible from where we were. This is the second largest glacier in Europe, the first being Vatnajokull, also in Iceland.
The last stop was Pingvellir National Park. This area is where the Iceland parliament first convened in the year 930 AD. It was also the cultural center of Iceland where thousands of people would meet and party during the parliamentary meetings each summer.
Iceland is a beautiful country, I’m sure there’s nothing quite like it in the world. We hope to make it back here sometime in the future for more than two days. Pictures from the tour below.
Today, 3/27, we arrived in our first destination outside of the U.S., Iceland! We left NYC at about 9:00 PM Eastern Time. After a 4 hour and a half hour flight, we landed in Keflavik, Iceland at about 6:30 AM Greenwich Mean Time. We then had about an hour and a half bus ride from the airport to our AirBnB stay in Reykjavik. We only got a couple of hours of sleep on the plane and lost three more with the time change, so needless to say we were pretty beat and jet lagged when we got here. Our AirBnB host Daniel seems like a really good and interesting fellow. He’s a professor of biology at the university here and is really into good coffee and fast internet, two things which have made our stay here that much better. He has also been really helpful with getting us oriented with the city, suggesting things to do, etc.
Affer a few hours nap we headed out to explore the city. Reykjavik isn’t very big at only 120,000 people and it is pretty compact. This makes a lot of interesting stuff fairly easy to walk to from our place in the center of the city. Since the economic crash 2008, Iceland has really been focusing on boosting tourism and it shows. A lot of downtown Reykjavik feels a lot like some of the ski resort towns in the Rockies like Sun Valley or Big Sky. Lots of art galleries and fancy shops catering to tourists. There is still a lot of really interesting stuff if you get away from the main drag though and it really is in a beautiful setting on the coast and surrounded by snow capped mountains. It seems everyone also speaks fluent English making things even easier for us tourists.
Our first stop was to get some food at a traditional Icelandic restaurant. Jocelyn had fish soup, and I had lamb soup. It was good, hearty stuff , definitely worthy of a Viking. Next, we headed to the Hallgrímskirkja, a huge Lutheran church that dominates the Skyline of Reykjavik. Inside they have a huge, powerful pipe organ that someone was actually playing so we sat and listened to that for some time.
After some more wandering and a little time at a coffee shop to escape a storm that blew in, we headed to the downtown swimming pool/hotsprings. The one we went to is called Sundhollin and is only about 3 blocks from where we’re staying. Swimming and going to these public hot springs seems to be the national past time here since hot water is free and abundant from the geothermal resources. It was a really nice way to relax and get a feel for the local culture.
After our soak, we wandered some more through the historical district and an old cemetery. Our last stop was Tjornin Lake before heading to a grocery store for some provisions for tomorrow and then home for a good nights sleep. Tomorrow’s main agenda item is a tour of the Golden Circle .