Flash
The Gorge - Flash Bristow's Website
Monday 23 October
Golden Circle - Geysir, Strokkur, Gullfoss, Thingvellir
Us at Thingvellir
Us at Thingvellir. [Photos below the journal. Take me straight to the photos!]

Woke at 10am to find Mike had gone for breakfast. The bed - as with all doubles in Iceland - was made of two twins pushed together with a kingsize sheet on top. This is great as we have a superking bed at home and use two individual covers, so it suited us fine and we slept well.

We left some time after 11 to drive the "golden circle". Stopped at a petrol station to grab me some food - the main choice was meat sarnies or hot dogs, but I found Pringles and orange juice. The crisps here all seem to be salt, salt and pepper, or sour cream flavours. The only one I really like is salt and vinegar... oh dear!

We drove out of Reykjavik onto the open road and stopped at several passing / parking points en route to take photos of the scenery, especially when we reached lake Thingvallavatn. A herd of horses crossed our path at one point, causing three vehicles to stop - unusual to see so much traffic at once!

First to Geysir, where we watched neighbouring Strokkur erupt and saw the violently boiling hotpot that is Litli Geysir. We had a choice of standing downwind in the steam to warm up, or standing upwind to avoid the stench of sulphur! Mike fell on the ice, and we decided to stick to the paths. Amazing how you can have sheet ice next to boiling pots.

We stopped for toasties in the cafe, then on to Gullfoss. I had been told there were two carparks, but we only saw one signed, at the top of the hill. I tried the steps down and decided I couldn't cope, so we drove round to the carpark at the bottom which we could now see. It was beautiful but very cold. Mike set off down the path to get closer, fell on sheet ice, and wisely decided to come back. Dread to think what I would have done to my knees if I'd attempted it!

We drove back home via Thingvellir. The sun was setting and it was about 5pm when we arrived, so we had the National Park more or less to ourselves. It had dawned on me that the sights in Iceland are very understated - no entrance charges, rules or security, just "there it is, don't break it, have fun". So we wandered through Thingvellir and saw Logberg (Law Stone), where the oldest ever parliament was formed in 930, looked across to the site of the oldest church in Iceland where Christianity was adopted, and walked through the rift between the two tectonic plates of North America and Europe - literally walking between continents. More photos were taken!

Then back to the car to warm up and drive home in the twilight. It was dark as we returned to Reykjavik. We uploaded our photos to my laptop and flopped before dinner.

We ate at Ruby Tuesday, an american style diner near our hotel. They initially appeared not to have much veggie food, but I had a jacket potato with cheese (it was "cheese and bacon" but they left out the bacon on request), free trip to the salad bar where I got pineapple and more cheese to go on top, and a side portion of onion rings. Mike had a burger. We were really full at last!

Around 930pm we went out to look for the Northern Lights. It was a clear night, and we were supposedly receiving the benefit of a solar wind, so we were optimistic. We took route 36 back towards Thingvellir and found a parking place - we were joined by a Northern Lights Tourbus at one point, and by another car, but we still saw nothing. Well, I saw a slight light band overhead, but I could only just see it. I wasn't sure if it was anything. Mike started to get tired, so we went home and were in bed by 1130pm. Bother!

The full set of today's photos are here.

The road to Geysir

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Setting off - the weather and scenery was pleasant.

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Lake Thingvallavatn with rift in the foreground.

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Beautiful but sparse hills.

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Horses that had just crossed our path.

Geysir and Strokkur

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The first view near Geysir - a strange steaming hut.

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The rapidly boiling pot that is Litli Geysir.

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Strokkur's pot starts filling, and rising and falling...

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Then a ball of water forms, and...

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Whoosh!

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The near-dormant Geysir steams gently - the original geyser.

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Mike, across a wet and steamy landscape.

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Looking down on the area as Strokkur erupts again.

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Overview of the area containing Strokkur. Don't be fooled by the blue sky, it was freezing.

Gullfoss

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First view - from above.

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Looking further down the gorge where all the water runs.

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From the level this time, and a rainbow is apparent.

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Mike, clambering back after deciding not to continue on the sheet ice paths.

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A larger view of these glorious icy falls.

Thingvellir

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Mike, standing in the rift, reading the sign.

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Looking across to the church.

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Logberg, the Law Stone.

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Looking up through the rift at sunset.

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"With my left hand, I touch Europe; with my right, America!"

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The rocks look chunky and solid, but they are all holey and lightweight.

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Mike finds a cave to hide in, as the light dims.

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360 degree panorama from the top of the rift.

Continue to Tuesday...




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