The Golden Circle
Geysir Travel Blog› entry 9 of 11 › view all entries
As youâ€™ve all been so patient itâ€™s about time I took you around the Golden Circle. I was up at 7am to catch the bus for the transfer to yet another tour bus around this the best known of all the tours in Iceland. Most people that only do one tour usually end up opting for this one. Setting out from Reykjavik at a reasonable hour it enables participants to visit three of the countryâ€™s best known landmarks in one day.
The first stop was a series of greenhouses, at Hveragerdi known as hothouses here I believe, but I hadnâ€™t really expected them to be on the itinerary, but there was also a coffee shop, snack bar and gift shop and the gardens were well very nice. The cynic in me canâ€™t help but wonder if this little stopover is created by some â€˜contributionâ€™ from the â€˜hothousesâ€™ to ensure a daily influx of visitors. The next stop before getting onto the â€˜big threeâ€™ was a waterfall which was called Haxxa or something similar, a pleasant interlude to the so called highlights though.
We bypassed Geysir to as we travelled straight onto Gullfoss, which was an impressive sight. The roar of the falling water could be heard as soon as I stepped off the bus, and as I made my way down the pathway to the falls I put on my waterproofs as the spray hung in the air and was carried for some distance on the light breeze. We were given around 30 minutes to look around and take a few pictures before rejoining the tour heading back to Geysir and lunch.
Geysir is obviously a result of Iceland being situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, with geothermic activity in the form of a series of hot pools and an actual geyser. There used to be two, but apparently Geysir is sulking and hasnâ€™t done its thing for quite a few years, fortunately the smaller Strokkur still likes to put on a show. There is an eruption every five to eight minutes although it can surprise you by erupting moments after an earlier one. There was enough time to explore the low hills surrounding the area, have a bite to eat at the hotel restaurant or snack bar and for a little retail therapy in the gift shop. I had a bowl of the Icelandic lamb soup which I enjoyed out in the sun and then bought a little nick knack from the shop and made my way back to the bus.
Once we were all loaded back upon the bus we continued on our merry way to Pingvellir (prononced Thingvellir). This is a National Park and the site where the rift caused by the two tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America drifting apart can best be seen. You can walk between the two seperate walls created and is another awesome sight to behold. It is also the site of the â€˜Alpingâ€™ where the Chieftains used to come to make the decisions that would govern the land.
This type of tour is necessarily a bit rushed and superficial, a guide is provided and she did a sterling job of keeping the time on the coach interesting. However each stop never seems long enough to have a really good explore and poke around each feature of interest, there is little flexibility or independence, but it is one way of getting to see these â€˜must seeâ€™ sights.
We were back in Reykjavik by around 4pm, leaving plenty of time to participate in my favourite pastime, chilling. The sun was making an appearance again and I took the opportunity to have a big ice cream in a little bistro, bliss in a dish! I was also intrigued to spot two guys working just outside the bistro, they were busy painting two parking spaces green, and on further inspection there was also a little green box by the roadside which you could plug your electric car into and get it recharged, how cool is that? They attracted a fair bit of attention, with many people stopping to have a look at what it was they were doing.
I returned to Cafe Paris for dinner, enjoying a few more minutes in the sun with an iced coffee before retreating from the cigarette smoke to eat inside. I savoured a couple of glasses of red wine and sorted out some photographs in a totally relaxed mood, this is a pleasant little place and would definitely recommend it for a bite to eat to anybody visiting the city.
On arrival back at the Aurora I discovered that I had to move rooms, there was a little confusion as to which room I was to move to, but eventually it was sorted out and I ended up in a room of four in the main building. The room was already full with Bianca from Germany, Daniel from Italy and Petra from the Czech Republic. We chatted and Petra was bemused to find herself challenged a â€˜most travelledâ€™ competition by Daniel, which she promptly won. After this excitement we all needed a rest, I unpacked again, had a shower and tried to sleep, but had to give up initially and read for awhile, but eventually joined the rest of my roommates in getting a decent nightâ€™s sleep.