Saturday, 7 February 2015

Golden Circle tour

Wow it is dark! We are out at 0800 which in Icelandic terms is well before dawn!

We had awoken at 07:00 and dressed in our warmest layers then breakfasted on a Skyr yogurt and Danish pastries picked up the day before.

Yesterday evening had been a six-Pinter  but my head was surprisingly clear. We had walked into downtown Reykjavik and visited the Hressinarskalann where we shared a veggie burger with chips and had a Viking Beer the previous evenings dinner debacle we thought it best to share dinner.

On the way back to the hotel we dropped into Kaffibarinn which apparently used to be owned by Damon Albarn. I had a beer while Victoria had a coffee with a shot of Icelandic spirits.

Now seated comfortably on the Iceland Guided Tours minibus we picked up fellow travellers around Reykjavik and headed out of town.

Out of town the pre-dawn light showed a beautiful snowy tundra and lava fields but in the mountain passes the road was an icy black ribbon in the White-out.

Seventy five minutes out of Reykjavik the road becomes two tyre tracks in the snow and we stop at a village for a comfort break for those who feel the need.

On our first stop we pulled up and met some Icelandic ponies. These were originally introduced by the vikings  and there are now about one hundred thousand on Iceland one per three humans.

Our driver suggested they like a biscuit, we had no biscuits but did feed them a Kit-Kat which went down really well with the ponies. Victoria was concerned that we may have a Neil and the dolphin incident though from giving them chocolate.

We drove on and stopped at the waterfall at Faxi where we had ten minutes enjoying the view and taking some photographs. We then drove up to the Gullfoss waterfall

We were dropped off at the middle viewing platform and after using a couple of the view points there we moved up to the upper levels. We could not use the lower platform as it was closed due to ice.

The falls are spectacular in the winter all green ice and crashing water. The top drop is 12m while the bottom drop adds another 20m.

There was a lot of snow and a light drizzle, we are soaking wet and having to constantly clear the camera lens but  hopefully some of the images have come out ok.

At the top is a large gift shop and cafe where the minibus picked us up again and we drove about 10km back to Geysir the reason all geysers are so called. Geysir itself is dormant now but about 50m away Strokkur is more active erupting every 10 to 15 minutes

Litli Geysir bubbles away close by.

We stopped for lunch at the Geysir Hotel. Sharing a cheese sandwich and French fries.

Back on my the bus we had a 40 minute drive to Pingvellur National Park site of the oldest democratic parliament in the world. We went over an icy mountain pass, our coach driver with her mobile phone clamped to her ear!

Having earlier passed the other way the road crossed back onto the North American plate from the Eurasian plate.

At Pingvellur a fissure between the tectonic plates runs for several hundred meters and across the parliament place.. After a steep climb to the view point you are afforded some beautiful views. The weather has cleared up somewhat and it is just cold now rather than cold and drizzle.

We bought a lovely hot chocolate in the gift shop at the summit.

It was then back into the minibus for the hour long journey to Reykjavik.

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