Last time I flew overseas I was spoiled on Air Transat’s club class so the bar was set pretty high. I was excited to receive my complimentary bottled Iceland water as I boarded, but, alas, that was pretty much all I would be getting for my 7 hour flight.
No meal service! Only an a la carte menu where the only hot meal available was an unappealing (to me, anyway) Chicken in Green Papaya and Mango. I eventually settled for a ham and cheese hoagie with a side of Pringles. Not quite what I thought I’d be eating on a cross Atlantic meal, but, there you have it.
I guess I can’t really complain. I mean, after all, the return flight was only $620 which is ridiculously cheap. I would have, however, been more than happy to pay another $20 to get a nice meal… Just sayin’…
Ok, rant over!
After watching Xmen: Wolverine, Before Sunset and 3 episodes of Big Bang Theory, the flight touched down 30 minutes earlier than expected in Iceland.
I quickly met up with Dorianne at the luggage carousels as her flight had arrived 10 minutes earlier and we were on our way into the dark, cold morning to pick up the 4×4 she had reserved for our trip.
For some inexplicable reason the rental building was clear across the parking lot of the airport and across the street. We tredged through the snowy field in the dark and a few minutes later we were on our way into the city using our new friend GPS to guide us.
By the way, just as a side note – listening to the woman on the GPS telling us to turn onto some obscure and hard to pronounce Icelandic street name is hilarious!
As it was around 8am and the checkin for the hostel wasn’t for another 6 hours we had made the plan to spend the day exploring the Golden Circle first.
The sun wasn’t rising until 10am so we had a quick bite to eat in a cafe. I had quiche and Dorianne had, well, a pear.
I have a feeling alot of our meals here in Iceland will follow this pattern as Dorianne is vegan and I’m, well, I’ll pretty much eat anything…
Anyway onto the best part of the day!
Heading out onto the Golden Circle as the sun was rising over the endless snow capped mountains was a sight to be seen. We were both so fascinated with all the beauty around us that we kept taking photo after photo.
After about an hour we arrived at Thingviellir – the site of the world’s original parliament and the crest of the mid-Atlantic ridge. We walked down the path through the separated ridge plates to see the Thingvallavatn lake (the largest natural one in Iceland). After my first slip and fall of the day we headed back to the car and onto our next destination.
By the way, by this point my layers of clothing were steadily increasing as it was -5C (28F) and I’m still fighting this damn cold.
Next stop – Geysir!
Geysir is home to a handful of natural hot springs (the first ones to be recorded) and spawned the name Geyser.
The main spring, Geysir, didn’t spout during the half hour we were there (I’ve read that it’s less active now because people used to throw rocks into it to initiate a spout) but the other one nearby, Strokkur, was spouting every 5 minutes or so. Of course, this is where the dozen or so tourists and ourselves hung out most of the time, cameras at the ready, waiting for it to go off.
A brief 10 minute ride down the road took us to our next and final stop in the Golden Circle – Gullfoss.
Gullfoss literally means golden falls and when we arrived we knew why. Down the path and some (very) icy stairs (seriously, no salt on them! what the hell?!?) we turned the corner to see one of the most stunning things I’ve ever seen.
Waterfall above waterfall above waterfall cascading water through the ice that had formed there into the lake below was a true natural beauty. After taking countless photos and some videos we just kind of stood there admiring it.
We stopped in the little gift shop/cafe up the hill and had some lunch (lamb stew for me, tea for Dorianne) and soon headed out for our hour trip back into the city.
As we drove down the isolated snowy roads we watched as the sun slowly began to set over the ice capped mountains around 5pm.
Around 6:00 we arrived at our home for the next few days here in Reykjavik – Loft hostel. The hostel is pretty modern but to be honest I didn’t spend alot of time checking it out as I had now been up for over 24 hours so I took a shower, grabbed a quick meal at Noodle Station and turned in for the night.
What an amazing start to the trip. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store…