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Published: August 11th 2018
7pm wake up. Breakfast downstairs (porridge juice fruit)
9am pick up for tour, drive around the city picking up others. Only a small group - 16 people.
Our first stop was Pingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park - this is where the tetonic plates of Europe and America are visible and you can stand with one foot in each continent! Absolutely stunning landscape and I will let the photos do the talking. Of course I did manage to shimmy into a crevice and can now say I was in two continents at the same time! This is also where the largest freshwater lake in Europe is - Thingvallavatn Lake. It is 83 square kms and 114 m deep. You can also dive here along the split between the 2 continents.
Our next stop was in the Geyser Hot spring area. Here we got to wander through and see (and smell haha) numerous geyser's including one that can shoot up 60 metres! It was also our opportunity to grab something to eat so I tried the traditional Icelandic dish of Lamb Stew, although it was really lamb soup, which was delicious.
We then drove to see the Gullfoss Waterfall, or
as it is commonly known, the Golden Waterfall. It was huge! What is unusual about this waterfall is that you are standing at the top of it, watching it disappear into the earth, rather than being at the bottom looking up. There are several layers of waterfall and I was able to quickly move along to ensure I got to all of them.
Our guide was really great as he offered us some options bwebcould have stayed longer at the Golden Waterfall but he said if we stayed for 25 minutes it would be plenty of time to get lots of photos but he would then take us to another, not so well known, waterfall. We all voted for this option! And he was right, as long as we moved fast we still got all the good shots - and were lucky enough to capture a rainbow just before leaving. To get a sense of how big this waterfall is, you should be able to zoom in on some of the shots and see the colourful line of people walking along the path. They are just dots which gives you some scale.
So, off we went to our
secret Waterfall! This one is called Faxi and it was also very dramatic. There were only about 5 people there when we arrived, so that made it feel even more special. I saw a path leading down so decided to head down there and get up close to the waterfall. Wow, it was amazing being this close to such power! Eventually some of the others ventured down and the Canadians were saying "trust an Aussie to be the adventurous one and lead the way!".
Then it was time to head to the "Secret Lagoon" - which turns out to not be so secretive anymore! We had 90 mintutes to spend here so there was plenty of time for a swim. Doing this however is not as easy as it seems. You go into a communal change area and then have to strip down and shower fully naked. After this you can put on your bathers and head to the pool. The pool was amazing though and very warm. It was like a bath, a very warm bath. The good thing though is it was ok to take a beer into the pool so a few of us from the
group did just that. Something about swimming in a geothermal pool that smells slightly of sulphur, makes you feel quite good. A very necessary experience. After a while I became too hot so decided to hop out and change. I could then go for a walk amongst the geothermal outlets and little geysers. I should mention that we apparently are lucky to be there as today is their first 'summer' day all season. They have had over 3 months of rain, which is unusual for this time of year. We had blue skies and it was snow around 14 degrees - which was positively hot haha. I sat in the sun, just in a t-shirt and enjoyed the warmth.
Our guide then decided to take us on the scenic route back to Reykjavik - we travelled further around Thingvallavatn Lake and stopped off to take some very scenic photos. Then area we then drove through was an area that was the inspiration for Lord of the Rings - and you could see why. Often too you would see steam just coming out of the group - this truly is the land of fire and ice! Speaking of fire, we
also got to see the Eyjafjallajökull volcano - the one that shut down flights all around the world back in 2010. They tried to teach us how to say Eyjafjallajökull but said we can cheat and call it E15 as it has 15 letters ☺️.
While we are on the bus we have very good WiFi and I had heard from Scott & Cathy, who I was planning to catch up with for dinner tonight. They had heard from Greg & Annie who had recommended a comedy show that was playing at the Reykjavik Concert Hall (Harpa) - How to Icelandic in 60 minutes. Sounded good so we all jumped online and bought tickets to the 7pm performance. Because our guide was taking us on the scenic tour, I realised I was going to be tight with time, as we were all meeting at Harpa at 6:45. Sure enough, I only got back to my hotel at 6:15 so quickly changed clothes and headed out at 6:30, as I knew it was about an15 minute walk. Phew - I made it!
The show was excellent - very funny and we did learn a lot more about what it
means to be Icelandic. There is nothing better than when a country is only too happy to have a laugh at themselves and part of their history. After the show finished we headed out to find somewhere for dinner. We bumped into another couple from our cruise, Sarah and Fred, and we asked them to join us. Scott and I were trying to Google and check Trip Advisor for somewhere to eat - the place Scott found couldn't fit our group of 7 in. We then wandered up the main street, the one my hotel is on, and we came across a gastro-pub which sounded good. The food was tapas style and we all enjoyed it, as well as the red wine from Chile. It is a well known fact that it is expensive to eat and drink (and live) in Iceland but still the prices blow my mind!
Eventually it was time to say goodbye to Greg & Anne as they needed to get back to their hotel and finish packing as they had an early flight. It was then that we discovered Greg and Anne had paid for our entire bill! Ohmygoodness- such generosity is overwhelming! What
lovely people and I have told them I will take them out somewhere very nice when they come to Sydney. Sarah & Fred also left so Scott, Cathy and I decided to have a beer cleanser. We chatted for a while and I cannot wait until they come to Sydney so I can show them around. They have booked a SilverSeas cruise in NZ that will end in Sydney so I look forward to seeing them then. Oh, and tomorrow night for dinner lol.
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