Travel Date: Friday, February 17, 2017

We all wake up early and wait outside for our bus by 8 AM. Everyone is a little groggy. And you can tell the morning people from the non-morning people. We are going to tour the south part of Iceland, on what is called the Golden Circle tour.

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Our bus finally arrives and we board it.

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I guess we are all on the left side of the bus, except for Jon. He had to be ‘that guy.’ 🙂

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The sun rises, and we can actually see outside.

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We make a pit stop in a small town: Hveragerði

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It looks like everyone is either heading for the restrooms or the Bakery and coffeehouse.

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Dang! There is a line here too?

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I noticed the Hverabraud (rye bread baked with hot spring steam). So I decide to purchase it.

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There is a lot more goodies to get.

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I think I’m also going to get the Pizza.

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But first I have to take a number. It looks like I’m number 86.

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Finally, after a short wait in line, and a cold pizza slice but filling for my belly, we get back on board the bus and drive off. More small mountains along the way.

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We stop at Kerið: a pictureque lake created inside a volcanic crater.

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I begin walking up the hill.

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And take a few panoramic photos. This was one of the better ones.

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Other mountains in the distance.

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At one of the small peaks of Kerið.

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The crater view from that peak.

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I continue walking. As you can see the ground is muddy and a little slippery.

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I noticed the pathway to the bottom, and I really really want to go down there. But I only have 10 minutes left. Going down is not the problem, but running back up is.

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I decide to go back to the bus.

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It starts to trickle.

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We stop by Faxi. It is a smaller waterfall, with a Salmon Ladder on the left. This is the picture from the top of the hill.

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I quickly walk down since we don’t have much time to spend experiencing this view. This is Salmon Ladder.

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A panorama view of Faxi waterfall.

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And a video.

I notice a trail and follow it.

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A different look at the Faxi waterfall.

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Now it is time to walk up the Salmon Ladder.

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The view from the top of Salmon Ladder.

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And the Faxi Waterfall.

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I quickly jog back to the bus. I slipped a couple of times. It is getting wetter and slicker, and I need to watch my step.

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We stop. Time to walk around.

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And in the distance I see the waterfall: Gullfoss

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It is a thing of beauty.

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I decide to get a closer look.

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I head back on the path.

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And towards the center point, where you can walk to the lower level.

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If it is a raining, watch those steps and grab the railing.

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As I walk on the lower level, I notice the walls on either side. So dark, full of character, and probably interesting stories.

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The view at the lower level is more intimate and a different perspective.

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I walk back up and head back to the tour bus.

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We are all wet, and ready for lunch.

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We turn around and head back to Reykavik. But first a stop at the Geysir attraction, and the tourist trapping of winter wear and food.

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The lines are quite long.

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I go for the Traditional Lambmeat Soup for kr 1790 or roughly US $17.90.

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And looking at the Icelandic beer selection I grab an Einstok Arctic Pale Ale

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I ended up having lunch with strangers, meeting new people, and sharing travel stories. After lunch, I walked over to the Geysir.

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The views of the mountains, and the geysir run off was beautiful.

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It looks like people are walking over and heading to the left side.

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I follow the crowd.

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And patiently wait for the eruption.

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Moments after the eruption.

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And when the water gets sucked back in.

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The full video

I decide to walk around to the other side and get a different perspective.

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I forgot that the mountains were in the background.

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And the size of the eruption is quite large.

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Time to head back to the bus, and get away from this light rain trickle.

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We make our way to Thingvellir National Park to see the fissures separate between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.

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The surrounding landscape is beautiful.

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We begin our walk to the fissures.

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There are lots of people, and lots of photo takers.

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The lone Icelandic flag waving in the background.

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In the distance is the Althing, the national parliament of Iceland, which was established at the site in 930 AD. Sessions were held at the location until 1798.

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Wow!

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I continue walking.

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I get to the top of the fissure.

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I just wish the clouds weren’t so gloomy. But the landscape makes up for it.

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It is time to head back to the bus.

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All of us are tired, and ready to crash. I take a power nap on the bus ride.

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We arrive back at the apts.

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And I try a piece of the Hverabraud. It is tasty.

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After a nice long nap, and phone charging, it is time to pre-game before going out.

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We are all in a jovial mood.

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Walking around the various streets of Iceland.

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Graffiti? or Street Art??

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We stop by the famous hot dog stand: Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, and grab some hot dogs.

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After the obligatory touristy hot dog trial, we head back to the center of the city, and debate where to dine at for our real dinner.

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Ben, Dionna, and I decide to venture out for some local Iceland food. We stop at the Geysir Bistro.

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I love the random local art in various locations.

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Dinner was visually stimulating, and delicious.

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Ben and I didn’t want him or her to be lonely.

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We walked around to meet up with others, who plan to “Lead Us into Temptation.” 🙂

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They decided to go to a Mexican restaurant El Santo.

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It was a short reunion. By the time we got there, they had already begun closing their tab. And then we all headed back home. So much for leading us into temptation!

Reflections:

Things to appreciate:

  • Cassie organizing the Golden Circle bus tour, and having someone shuttle you around.
  • Tasting hot steam baked bread: Hverabraud
  • The various attractions: Kerid, Faxi, Gullfoss, Geysir, Thingvellir National Park
  • The pre-gaming shots that I’m too old for, walking down the streets of Reykjavik with my new friends, and being a little tipsy and jovial.
  • The delicious local hot dog
  • The wonderful food and company at Geysir Bistro
  • My Samsung mobile phone and the amazing camera it comes with/

Expenses:

  • Bus Tour: $68.00 (Golden Circle)
  • Breakfast: $8.52 (Almar Bakari Hveragerdi: kr: 940 )
  • Lunch: $24.82 (Geysir Haukadal: kr 2740)
  • Dinner: $61.10 (Geysir bistro og bar: kr 6750)