Geysirs, Waterfalls, and Sunny Nights

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June 28th 2009
Published: June 28th 2009
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At $7 per hour, Iceland definitely has the most expensive internet I´ve seen anywhere in the world. For that matter, pretty much everything else is most expensive here too, except for heat, which is free.

So we landed on time at 6:00 am and immediately met Bryce and Diu, two Canadians. The Blue Lagoon is right near the airport, so the four of us went there just after landing. It was awesome! And furthermore, I kept thinking that everyone at home who thinks it´s odd why anyone would want to travel to Iceland would LOVE it! It´s a huge naturally heated lake (like 90 degrees year round) with therapeutic minerals in it. They also have steam rooms and stuff like that. The only bad thing is the sulfur smell. We spent the whole day there because we had to kill time before getting into the city. Definitely a unique experience.

We bused into Reykjavik, the capital and parted ways with the Canadians. Then we walked to the place we are Couchsurfing. Gaetan(French), and Barbara and Adrian (both Slovak) are our hosts and they´re awesome. They´re very curious about what America is like and they are amazed that some of the stereotypes are actually true. They consistently refer to it as Burgerland, haha. Like, seriously every time.

Reykjavik isn´t exactly what I expected. It´s a very clean city -- as is the rest of the country, I´m sure -- but it surprisingly lacks in aesthetics, so it´s really not that photogenic. Most people are fairly friendly, but it´s definitely not the friendliest place I´ve been to. Absolutely everyone speaks English, young and old. In fact, people have told me I shouldn´t even ask if they know English before talking to them. This is usually the polite thing to in non anglophone countries but it´s oddly expected that everyone speaks it here. The nightlife in Reykjavik definitely lives up to it´s reputation and I´d rank it up with Krakow and Amsterdam for best European nights out. Or maybe even best nights out anywhere in the world. Also very surprising, Reykjavik has among the best hot dogs in the world!!

Oh, and we currently have 20 hours of sunlight here, which is an experience. I consider it to be 24 hours though because it never gets dark. Our first night, I was astonished when it was 10 pm and I thought it was 6. It´s so easy to have an utter lack of perspective of time. Maybe a reason why the streets are still packed with barhoppers at 5 am.

Yesterday, Greg and I used our Couchsurfers´car and drove around the Golden Circle ourselves. Why pay to be crammed on a bus with a bunch of 60 year old Brits and Japanese people (hmm, no question mark key on Icelandic keyboards). It was AWESOME!! First we went to þinvellir National Park, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. Interesting to think that Reykjavik is geologically in North America. Anyway, it has a lot of nice views and you can walk down into the faultline, which grows 2 cm per year. There´s also a huge lake in the park and you can dive down into the fault!! It´s pretty expensive but I fully plan on doing it before I leave. Speaking of faultlines, there was an earthquake in Reykjavik just a few hours before we landed. Greg and I are actually hoping we get another, as long as it´s only another 4.0. People have also mentioned several times the possibility of another quake while I´m diving in the fault.

After þingvellir, we next went to Geysir. This is where the word comes from and it was my first time seeing a geysir. Really cool and it goes off every 6 minutes or something. Again, the smell of sulfur was horrible. Then we went to Gulfoss which is an awesome waterfall. Not as good or nearly as big as Vic Falls but more photogenic somehow. I could never get tired of awesome waterfalls throughout the world. We finally stopped at some crater lake, which isn´t exactly part of the golden circle, but nonetheless a good stop.

So tomorrow we´re leaving Reykjavik and driving up to the Westfjords. I´m entirely excited for it. Then we´re gonna drive around the Ring Road for about a week. We´re probably gonna go whale watching up on the north coast (on the Arctic circle), which is apparently one of the best places in the world do it. Definitely gonna squeeze in a glacier hike too.

That´s it for now. I have hot dogs to eat.

Additional photos below
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Literally standing between North America and Europe

The darkest it gets around here

29th June 2009

Justin When I was at Gulfoss it was frozen it's beautiful thanks for the taking the pics

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