Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Golden Circle Tour | Iceland Nov. 22-26, 2017

Day Two of our Iceland adventure involved waking up at 7am to have 12 people ready to leave the house before 9am.  We were picked up from our Airbnb by our The Golden Circle tour guide, Ian, who was fantastic.

Before I get into telling you everything we saw on our tour I just want to say that if you are planning to visit Iceland, I highly recommend this tour.  We saw so many things (as will you through my photos), and we didn't have to drive.  The weather in Iceland is a little unpredictable so having someone who actually knew the roads driving was fantastic.  At one point we couldn't even see out the front windshield because the snow was blowing so thick.

The first stop on our tour was to a small village with a population of about 2,000 people.  There we stopped at a small mall type place.  The reason we did this was that part of the floor of this building is clear, and when you look down, you can see both the European and North American tectonic plates.  Even if you're like me and science was never really your thing, this is cool.  You're standing on two continents at once!  Because this is the location of two tectonic plates scraping up against each other, the village it's in experiences earthquakes all the time.  Our tour guide said the recond is like 400 in one day, but they haven't had one that caused a whole lot of damage for a little while.  We didn't feel any during our time there, but I think it would have been pretty cool if we had.  Just a small one, of course.

Something fun I learned: In Iceland, it is commonly believed that fairies live in the rocks so as you're driving you can see fairy doors attached to them.  Also, because of this belief, when the roads were being built they were curved so that no rocks had to be moved and fairy homes disrupted.

You cannot go to Iceland and not see a waterfall.  This was Faxi, which was absolutely stunning.

From there, we went to Geysir and watched Strukkor do it's thing a couple times.  Watching a geyser erupt(?)...explode(?)...I don't know, but whatever the word, it's amazing to witness.  It's also so funny to stand huddled with a bunch of tourists, all of us with our phones up recording and waiting for the event to happen.

This second waterfall we saw, Gullfoss, was my favorite thing on the tour and possibly my favorite thing from the whole trip.  It's just a waterfall, all you do is look at it and maybe take a picture, but it is so pretty and just so prevalent.  For me, it really showed how powerful nature is.  And all the frozen parts of it were gorgeous, but it also confuses me in a way that I also have a lot of respect for as to how some moving water can freeze, but some don't.  I know I probably sound like a crazy person, but that is apparently what giant, beautiful waterfalls do to me.  

We were supposed to see a National Park on our Tour, but the weather in that area was bad, so the road was closed.  Instead, Ian let us stop to see some horses and again to get some ice cream. 

 Now, I was expecting giant horses to be in Iceland because all I could think was that the Vikings used horses to get around and whatever.  I was wrong.  Far from a Clydesdale were these guys.  But they were cute and really soft with their thick fur.  These ones were clearly very used to people and being fed by people, so they were nice, if not a little greedy.

We got homemade ice cream from a farm, so it was really good.  Mine was chocolate with candy pieces in it.  This was also a nice little stop to make before driving back to Reykjavik.

If you read my first Iceland post, you will know that we got lost trying to find the 'white house' that Raegan and Gorbachev met at to end the Cold War.  Well, trusty Ian brought us to it.  He turned a corner and said, "You may know a little something about this house..." and I just started laughing.  This house is located right at the Harbor, probably 20 minutes from where we had breakfast that first morning, not 45 minutes away, which is where we ended up.  Honestly, I was just glad my dad and his friend got to see it.

That night we went to a bar themed after the movie The Big Lebowski, so bowling memorabilia and movie quotes everywhere.

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