Monday, 16 April 2012

Iceland V 2011

On our last full day we did our own Golden Circle tour. We headed to Thingveiller to start with and had a wander and learnt about Icelandic history. 

Then we went up to Gulfoss (waterfall) – OMG I’ve never been so cold. Could barely stand up because of the wind. It is a spectacular sight and you can feel the power. The spray coming off the waterfall had completely frozen all the ground and grass around.
Then we headed back down to Geysir – again pretty amazing. These places are the only ones where we felt pretty surrounded by tourists which was a bit of a shame.

For our last night we booked a room very close to the airport because our flight was a 7:30ish in the morning so we stayed in Keflavik. We checked in got a take away pizza and drove to Hafnir (or just past it really) to see the Intercontinental bridge where the European and American plates meet. O ran up to the bridge, I was too interested in eating the pizza before it went cold. 

Then we finished our trip at the Blue Lagoon. It is beautiful, we didn’t get to see the landscape as it was too dark when we got there but we swam about looking for the hot bits. The trip was kind of made by the fact that we could see the northern lights from in the pool. They eventually kicked us out of the lagoon and we headed back to Keflavik pulling off the road down a dark track to watch the northern lights – attracting the attention of the police, don’t know what they thought we were getting up to. But once they realised we had our faces stuck to the windscreen and the camera desperately trying to capture the lights they left us be (photos did not happen!). When we got back to the hotel we realised we could actually see the northern lights from in our hotel room but it was extremely cold and windy with the wind open.

Iceland has to be our favourite holiday and we're already desperate to go back.

photos by O or me

Iceland IV 2011

Not many of the shops are open on a Sunday unfortunately. However go to the flea market where we managed to get O a hand knitted Icelandic jumper, which he wanted. I was going to get one as well but when we realised how expensive they are even second hand we decided we’d just share the one! 

We went to the National Museum, where we had lunch and to the cathedral in the centre of town, which is stunning in its simplicity. You can get a lift to the top of the tower where you get great views out over the city. We went for another swim at Vesturbæjarlaug O’s favourite pool. We had dinner in the apartment that night and then went to try and find a dark place to spot northern lights from. We failed but mostly because it was quite cloudy, we were both tired and weren’t really in the mood.

Iceland III 2011

This guy was in the lobby of our hotel

The next morning we walked round Akureyi again waiting for the swimming pool to open. The pool complex was huge with different pots at different temperatures and a steam room. The locals seem to do their stretches and yoga in the steam room which was a little disconcerting at first. Then back to Reykjavik with me trying to take pictures of the hundreds of Icelandic ponies from the moving car. We tried to take a lot of photos from the car strangely enough they haven’t really come out or we’ve got some cracking photos of the windscreen wipers or side mirrors!

On the way back South we tried to sort of go to Glymer. Glymer is Iceland’s tallest waterfall. First you need to get along the incredibly bumpy gravel road to get to the head of the walk – this is terrifying when you’re not supposed to take your hire car on gravel roads and when you haven’t taken out the windscreen cover or chipped paint cover insurance. So we got to the start of the walk about 4:45 and expecting that it’d be dark on the way back we took a torch with us. We walked quite a way crossing a smallish stream following the marked path. I don’t do too well with too much walking and my back was quite sore. 

We then came to a huge hole in the ground which basically took us under a huge rock and down the side of a cliff – it was pitch black here! We came out the other side unscathed and kept going (should point out I’m also a huge wuss and have no sense of balance so I don’t do well with scrabbling over rocks and jumping streams. I’m the one on my bum to go down the smallest of slopes). 

Eventually we came to a rather full river with a wire across it. There were stepping stones to the centre of the river and then a log for the rest of the journey. This was my breaking point and thankfully O’s too. We were not crossing the river in the dying light to see a waterfall. Especially when we could see where the path went on the other side and that didn’t look like much fun either. I told O he could go on if he wanted to but I’d had enough and would meet him at the car. (in contrast to me being a wuss and having no sense of balance my husband is like a mountain goat and can bound up hills at the drop of a hat). However, we decided that neither of us was going to cross the river. I suggested to O that he climb the hill in front of us and see if he could see the waterfall from there at least to get a picture. He decided we should both climb the hill to have a look we might have had a small argument, I might have had a tantrum but somehow I ended up climbing the bloody hill. YOU CANNOT SEE THE WATERFALL FROM THE TOP OF THE HILL.  We stomped back to the car practically in silence. On the way back we passed a couple just setting out (they’d been in the car park when we’d set out, not sure what took them so long we assumed they’d already been to the falls). We gave them fairly honest advice – are you mental it is dark, don’t do it, you’ll never make it. They went on regardless but O saw them turn almost as soon as we were out of view. My advice is don’t try and get to Glymer falls!

a grumpy me trudging back to the car

This time we checked into an apartment for two nights. We walked from the apartment into the centre of  Reykjavik and ate at a really nice vegetarian restaurant. On the walk into town we passed a couple of red cross charity shops and some second hand shops which we planned to visit the next day however we hadn’t planned that very well and it was Sunday the next day. 

all photos by O or me
Finally getting round to finishing these posts off.