We decided to fly to Europe on Icelandic Air as it was the cheapest option and were delighted when we found out we could stopover in Iceland for free. We arrived at 6 in the morning (which felt like 2am) into wind and a bitingly cold rain. With some trepidation we picked up our rental car and began our drive in the dark towards the “Golden Circle”. On the advice of the tourist information guide at the airport, we headed down south first. Our first stop was supposed to be a walk to see the seabirds on the cliff – after 10 minutes in blinding rain we turned back, utterly soaked and no sea birds in sight!
We were more successful at our next stop, the Continental Divide where the plates that join America and Europe meet.
We then continued down to a lighthouse, a geothermal area, a powerstation and then lunch in the little town of Selfoss.
Our next stop was one of the three that make up the Golden Circle – the very impressive waterfall Gullfoss. This was literally the only time that day that it stopped raining! We made the most of it by walking all around the waterfall.
Our next stop was Geysir, the geyser for which all geysers are named. Unfortunately Geysir hasn’t gone off for years…so we watched the less famous but very regular Strokkur geyser go off instead.
Our last stop was Thingvellir, the original place for one of the first parliaments in the world. We didn’t get to explore here as much as we would have liked due to the time and the weather, but it was still lovely.
We arrived in Reykjavik in still more rain and after a quick dinner headed off to the hot pools at Laugardalur, the local pools which included a hot salt pool. This was an excellent way to finish a cold, wet day!