Tough first day. Diving in dry suit is not easy in the slightest. Second dive was far better. 150 m visibility through a crack between two continents. Spectacular. Above the surface is flat and featureless until the rift in crust that forms a sheer cliff face that goes all the way to the mountains. Below the surface it is like flying above a canyon. Large boulders dislodged and wedged half way down. Sunlight flares on every surface. No fauna.. only flora is algae like grass in long strands pointing in the direction of the current. Hopefully photos will come.
That evening we went to http://www.saegreifinn.is/ and had sensational lobster soup and Minky Whale shish kebabs. It was amazing. Like quality beef steak mixed with anchovy.
So we get the car and Gab bravely take the first shift driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and we embark on our tour of the Golden Circle.
First stop was Stori Deysir.
This place is the origin of the word Gyser. The main one only goes off 3 times a day but luckily there is, what I liked to call a tourist friendly gyser that goes off every 6 mins. Much to the glee of the permanent encampment of assorted of tripod-ed, seeming entirely German, super tourists.
Don’t get me wrong it was impressive but over all it seem to have a theme park atmosphere.
I took over driving at this point. My first time on the ‘wrong side’. It was easier than I thought. The roads were all well maintained and there wasn’t a lot of traffic to worry about. Two thumbs up for Iceland. 🙂
Next on our road trip we found ourselves at Gullfloss. ‘-floss’ being an indicator that it is a waterfall from what I can tell. This was a massive waterfall that drops twice before disappearing into a canyon.
We were so starving by this point we headed directly to the tourist centre with its famous lamb soup. It lived up to its reputation and then some.
The endless daylight gave the impression that it was always somewhere between 3 and 4pm. We kept missing mealtimes and and perhaps it was this (desperation) that made all the food extra tasty. 😉
Just before Vik there is a rocky promontory topped by a lighthouse called Dyrholaey. It was the view across the endless black beach from its top that was a highlight of the trip for me. The dramatic cliff top sight with gusty wind and turbulent sea filled the moment with a sense of drama that was hard to beat.
The 4 hour Glacier walk from Skaftafell was a mix of emotions – my fear of falling metered with the security of crampons and an excellent guide. I loved the tinkling of ice as it falls down crevasse and the sight of a million sparkles from curved surface of ice. Holes to no where. Streams and waterfalls in the icy micro universe. Gurgles and an underground rock band – dull bass thumps from water deep within the ice. The Icelanders call the glaciers Crawling ice. It is black where the hills have rubbed off on it. Inexorable progress down the hill. And we walked on top of it in a maze with steps.
After the walk we headed on to the spectacular Jokulsarlon, the lagoon created from the tail of a glacier, that is shaped and filled with icebergs broken off from the glacier.
Day 4 was a day of driving. From east to west we drove stopping at Waterfalls along the way.
My favourite of the trip was Svartifoss framed by basalt columns.
Skogafoss was massive with a walk to the top that was not as good as the view from the ground!
This was also where we saw the bollywood movie being filmed. Another first for me. The poor girl had to take off her massive coat for each scene leaving her in a tinny tube dress in the 10 degree weather.
This evening we headed to a Lobster Restaurant recommended in LP. Being our last night we thought we would go all out and get the three course lobster menu. It started with Lobster soup that floored us with its awesomeness. This was followed by a sensational combination of sides around the crowning glory of lobster tails cooked in butter with garlic – words can not do justice. Then followed the course we had forgotten about! We got one of each of the cakes on offer. ‘Marine’ (meringue), Carrot and Chocolate. ‘Marine’ was the winner by far.
On approach suddenly a luminous opaque blue pool framed jaggedly by black rock, the dead husks of volcanic excretion. Inside is a very modern day spa atmosphere. Towels rented and RFID bracelet in place all that is between you and the hot liquid bliss is to work out the locker system, activated with your bracelet, and the mandatory (nude) shower.
The water ranges in temp from 30 – 50 degrees centigrade. The closer to vents you get the hotter it is. At various locations round the lagoon you can get white silica mud, derived from the water, to apply as a face mask. The mask and water itself is acidic and will exfoliate excellently but also strip your hair of its condition. You have been warned.
Already planning my next trip over, with Phil, as am going to book a massage given as you float in the lagoon on a lilo. Awesome. 🙂