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Published: January 1st 2018
And I'm tired again lol. Fireworks went full blast until 2am and I had to get up at 7am, but that's the price you pay at New Year's 😊
Golden Circle day today - I wanted to see what it's all like with snow and ice. Super worth it.
The first stop has changed since last time I took the tour - we stopped at a greenhouse that grows tomatoes. Weird thing is it used to stop at a different greenhouse haha. I mean, greenhouses make sense with the climate they have here. I liked this one because they also breed Icelandic horses so I got to see the little darlings. They are the cutest, fluffiest horses ever.
Next was the hot spots - Strokkur (a geysir) and friends. I didn't really know what to expect with the freezing weather (Reykjavik might be balmy, but inland Iceland was not...) I feel it doesn't shoot as high in the winter, but the mist rises a lot higher - I guess the liquid itself can't get up much. Regardless, still an incredible sight and I love watching all the steam spots raising from the ground around it. It's unearthly.
Another fun thing to watch was just the behaviour and clothing choices of my fellow tourists lol. So many people were dressed for 0-5 degrees... that is a far different world than -15 + wind. I felt bad for that. I didn't, however, feel bad about people slipping and sliding wearing Keds and other summer shoes. You're hiking around frozen water... it's going to be slick.
Even though I had brought a sandwich, I wanted something warm so I had a lovely lamb stew - not at all skimpy on the meat, so good and hearty.
We then headed off to Gullfoss - the double waterfall. I still find it one of the more picturesque places in the country. It's harder to get the perfect shot in the winter because of the sun and because 80% of the lower level of trails is closed, but you can still see its power and might from the upper trails. Again, I love the shades of blue that the dark and cold bring out.
(Sidenote: crampons were soooooooo worth it at Gullfoss. They were recommended at Strokkur too, but there were only 1 or 2 super slick areas if you
had proper boots, but at Gullfoss a lot of people were really struggling up near the falls even with hiking boots.)
Last stop of the day was at Thungvellir National Park. I love it here too - it's a rift valley caused by the meeting of the two tectonic plates. (Seriously, using Iceland for all these examples when I taught geography was the best!) There's a great view down below across the snowy valley, a little church, the site of their former parliament, and rock walls that walk up through.
Tonight I'm headed out to (hopefully!) see the northern lights. I'll post this now since I'm going to crash when I get back tonight - I'll talk about that tomorrow instead, and I'll add photos back in here. (I also added in some photos from the bonfire into yesterday's post if you want to see them.)
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