When we got back in town Tuesday night, after our excursion to Reynisfjara Beach, we went to a local grocery store to buy food for the rest of the week. We had already made a mistake by eating on the fly Tuesday late-morning, jet-lagged and un-researched. This is a huge fail when it comes to visiting Iceland on a budget and we resolved to be better the rest of the week.
(I think I’ll make a separate blog post about traveling to Iceland on a budget, so if you’re interested in that, stay tuned.)
Since we had eggs, toast, cereal, and milk in the house, breakfast was a cinch. Once they boys were dressed and fed, they went outside to the backyard to pet the cats.
The first stop on Wednesday was along the Golden Circle to Thingvellir National Park, which you can see noted on the map below:
Thingvellir is important to Icelandic culture and history, as well as its geological and ecological significance. It is literally where the North American tectonic plate and Eurasian plate meet.
Iceland is notoriously vibrant and green in the summer, and despite the snow, you could still see the beautiful moss growing everywhere.
If you continue on the path you run into Oxararfoss, an up-close magnificent (frozen) waterfall.
One of my favorite photos from the trip – this is my whole heart right here:
I can’t emphasize how clear the water is. I mean, if you want to drink from it, go ahead.
Oxararfoss is right behind us. We walked across frozen water to get to it. I’d love to see it in summertime!
After climbing out of the crevasses, we got back in the car and headed to Strokkur/Geysir. The Golden Circle is a heavy tourist area, so unlike much of our experiences on Tuesday, we were among fellow travelers most of Wednesday.
Imagine boiling water bursting out of the Earth and running down a frozen tundra. That’s Geysir.
This is Strokkur, a reliable hot spring that erupts every four to eight minutes.
Even with steaming hot water erupting from the Earth, there is plenty of frozen bright blue water to be found.
The last place we visited along the Golden Circle was Gullfoss, Iceland’s largest waterfall. Of course, it was mostly frozen so I’d love to return in summer to see it in full color and motion.
Our five hours of daylight were fading fast, so we hoped in the car back to Reykjavik to explore the city at night.
But first, sunset.
Icelanders take their Viking history seriously, so Thor is everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
It was foggy on Wednesday night, so we knew we’d have to come back to Hallgrimskirkja Church the next day and hope for clear skies.