July 3, 2014
We took a short 45 minute flight this morning from Akureyri back
to Reykjavik. Our driver had left last night with our major luggage,
drove the bus 5 hours back to Reykjavik and met us at the gate.
We then departed for a tour of the Golden Circle - a ring of natural
highlights that are Iceland's major tourist attraction.
first stop was to Thingvellir National Park which is a Unesco World
Heritage Site. The park is the location of a major rift between
two tectonic plates - the European and North American - which creates
a dramatic and growing fissure in the land. There have been alot
of earthquakes in the area and these have caused a sinking of the
land between the plates and the creation of a huge lake. Each earthquake
causes the lake to sink lower and the fissure widens. It is felt
that Iceland is slowly breaking apart and will someday be two countries!
is also very important in Iceland's history and culture. It was
here that the first parliament was formed and they met from 930-1262
AD. Each summer, people traveled from all over the country to hear
the laws of the land. Because they had no written language, the
laws were shouted from the rocks on the cliffs at Thingvellir.
had purchased some smoked trout and lamb from the farmer we visited
so we stopped for a traditional picnic in a spot where she used
to go horseback riding. We had the smoked meats on brown bread that
had been baked in the ground using the heat from the hot springs.
And drank a mix of 1/2 orange soda, half malt ale. Unfortunately
it was very windy and cold so it was hard to enjoy the special treats.
next stop was a visit to Geysir, which like its name implies, is
an area of intense geothermal activity. Puddles of water on the
ground literally boil. And of course there is a geyser which erupts
about every 5 minutes. To view a short video of it erupting, click
final stop on the Golden Circle was to stunning Gullfoss meaning
golden waterfall. Three tiers of rushing white water drop into a
hundred foot deep crevice. We got great views of the falls from
an overlook, then walked down a path for a closer look. There was
even a rainbow over the falls. To see a short video of the falls,
not one of the major Golden Circle sites, we made an extra stop
at one of our guide's favorite waterfalls - Faxa Waterfalls - which
means horse's mane. There was a fish ladder on the side for the
salmon to climb. To view a short video of the waterfalls, click
is also the site of a sheep round-up. Each fall the sheep are rounded
up from the hillsides, brought together and sorted into slots by
owner so they can take them back to their farms for the winter.
We were so lucky with the weather. During our drive around the
circle we experienced alot of rain. But each time we stopped, so
did the rain. It was pretty windy and cold but that was better than
fighting the rain.
We drove to the Hotel Ork in Hveragerdi for a two night stay.
To view more photos from our trip around the Golden Circle, please
go to Golden Circle Photo
Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to South
Locations Visited Photos Map