Iceland Day 2 – The Golden Circle

What an absolutely amazing day. Our holiday included a day long trip around an area known as The Golden Circle.

The first stop of the day was at the Pingvellir National Park, which is part of the Icelandic rift valley. Iceland is in the middle of two tectonic plates and is splitting apart at the rate of approximately 2cm a year. The coach dropped us off at one car park and we walked down through a canyon to a second car park less than one mile away. Amazing views, a small waterfall full of large lumps of ice, and an area that was filmed in Games of Thrones.

Second stop was at Geysir, site of the best geysers in Iceland. The largest, Geysir itself, stopped venting a couple of decades ago, but the smaller Strokkur vent erupts every 6 or 7 minutes. I managed to take a photo just as it was venting. Helen, my beautiful wife, was almost reduced to tears by how stunning the area was.

Then onto Gullfoss, a waterfall which drops into a narrow canyon. It was windy and the only point of the day where we felt a bit cold. Up near the car park you could also see one of Icelands glaciers.

As we were a bit ahead of schedule we had a quick stop to look at some Icelandic horses. A very hardy breed who are slightly smaller than a regular horse, but live outdoors most of the year. Horse meat can also be found in most supermarkets. Eating horse was often a necessity for the early settlers and today it is veiwed as perfectly acceptable.

Last stop of the day was the Secret Lagoon. Icelands oldest swimming pool, heated by hot springs. The place is “low tech” and in our mind all the better for it. The atmosphere in the pool was relaxed and very friendly, with people floating about, chatting, or drinking beer and wine.

Some areas of the pool near to where the hot spring water trickled into the pool were too hot to stay in for long. Some of the group on the tour opted not to go in, mostly because of the strict showering and washing that is required. The pools don’t use chlorine, so everyone has to be ultra clean before going in. It was their loss, as we could have stayed there for hours.

90 minute coach journey back before a few beers in the bar with Helen’s mum and sister, who had been due to go whale watching. It had been cancelled due to rough weather. We’re whale watching tomorrow, while Helen’s mum and sister are doing the Golden Circle, which we told them all about.

One of the best days ever!