I arrived in Iceland and promptly followed the locals to duty free to buy some alcohol. I purchased a 6 pack of Einstock Icelandic Toasted Porter for a similar price to what a quality beer would cost at home. I think I could have got more but more on that later.
I caught the efficient Flybus into Reykjavik from the airport as the bus terminal was a short walk from the Igdlo guesthouse. Finding the Igdlo guesthouse in the drizzling rain proved a bit more difficult than it should have been because i went the wrong way around the block. Eventually though I found the place, found my room and knocked on the door. Claire was having a nap after all the soaking she did at the Blue Lagoon hot springs and spa. To be fair to her, she had arrived at 5am or some ridiculous hour.
We went out for dinner to the Loki Cafe which offered authentic Iceland cuisine. I ordered the meat soup (literally what they called it) and Claire had a fish dish, which was pretty much every menu item except the meat soup. We both ordered a beer, which between them was more expensive than the cost of a sixpack duty free! The meal was delicious and we both were tired, I was quite surprised I wasn’t falling asleep sooner, I think the neck pillow I paid people out for so long, actually does help me get better quality sleep on planes.
After a good nights sleep we collected out hire car from Reykjavik Car Rental and I suggested Claire drive due to the side of the road while I navigate. Our GPS navigator was silent, so I did my best to give Claire ample notice of whats coming up, except when I said turn left here and I meant right. We were going to do the well trodden Golden Circle. Popular with tourists as its a day trip from Reykjavik, its also very common for people to do a few days in Iceland and do the golden circle and blue lagoon and then leave.
First stop on the Golden Circle was Þingvellir NP (prounouced Thingvellir). Here lies the fault line between Europe and the USA. Its pulling apart slowly at a few millimetres a year and its very visible here in Þingvellir. Of course parking the car was a challenge, firstly because it was quite busy and there were a lot of people and secondly because we paid 500 Icelandic Kronur (~$5) and didn’t get a ticket. We returned to the visitor centre and the lady said don’t worry. so we went pack to explore the fault line with its own waterfall Öxarárfoss. It was here the the first Icelandic parliament sat in 930. They also found the river handy for drowning those who needed to be taught a lesson.
We walked back to the car to find a note saying we’d not displayed our parking permit properly and to find a staff member to assist with payment of said parking ticket. No fine, but just in case we returned to the visitors centre, the woman there remember Claire and took the ticket and we left. The website confirms its a new system.
We then drove onward but stopped for lunch and to pick up groceries for dinner as we were staying in a farm for the night. We decided on a simple pasta dish with a side of tiny carrots! We also grabbed some eggs for breakfast and some bread.
So the second stop on the golden circle was to Geysir, the place whose name gave the english language the word geysir. Unfortunately the original Geysir is dormant and no longer erupts, bur a nearby geysir of a different name was going gangbusters. I think we saw 6 eruptions in half an hour. The original Geysir was apparently the worlds 2nd tallest. The tour buses started to descend and people blocked our view, so we left for the final stop on the golden circle.
Gulfoss are apparently the largest waterfalls in Europe. They certainly are a very interesting set of falls with 2 drops almost at right angles to each other. The amount of water flowing over them makes them certainly a very powerful and noisy waterfalls.
We left the tourist trail to our farm Arabær, where we were greeted by two dogs, a few chicken and a paddock full of icelandic horses. After settling in we went to visit the horses and wander around. They had a horse with blue eyes, which was strange to me because i’d never seen one or knew they existed! Its also been suggested there is a chance to see the northern lights tonight. My fingers crossed and camera mounted on the tripod and ready.