Day two in Iceland was going to be one very long day! Getting up at 6am for breakfast and ready for an 8.30am pick up for the ‘Golden Circle Tour’. The Golden Circle is a route around Southern Iceland starting and ending in Reykjavik and includes stops at three iconic landmarks. Daylight hours in Iceland during the winter are minimal so the majority of the first part of the journey was in darkness with morning breaking around 10am just before our first stop.
The first stop, Geysir geothermal area, houses the Strokkur hot spring that erupts every 5-10minutes sending exceptionally hot water into the air at around 30m in height! Arriving at the area was simply amazing with snowy views and a very distinctive, natural but unfortunately yucky smell of sulphur. I have to admit, not knowing when the Strokkur geyser would erupt meant waiting and watching with cameras at the ready…I wasn’t the only one who jumped out of their skin when it erupted…in fact the person next to me didn’t get a photo as she forgot to press the button with the shock of it! 😛
The second stop was the Gullfoss Waterfall. This part of the trip also included lunch to begin with before heading off to explore. I’m not usually one for organised group trips and so on but it has to be said that TUI provided such well-run trips and the lunch included on this day was amazing! Expecting perhaps a packed lunch of some form, to walk in from the cold to hot lamb stew followed by chocolate cake and a cuppa was perfect!! We then had around an hour to see the sights. The breathtaking views are certainly a sight to behold. In Iceland there is a known saying that if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes. The weather in Iceland literally changes non stop. As I look at the photos that we took at Gullfoss, this was evident! These four photos are literally a time frame of around 20 minutes from the top left to right then bottom left to right.
The final stop was Thingvellir National Park. Another truly amazing view point and also a very surreal one! Historically this place is significant as it is the place of the oldest parliament in the world! Geologically, and this is where I was in utter awe of this place, it is where you can literally stand between the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates! The plates are moving apart at around the size of a strawberry per year! This fact in itself made this place super special as no matter when we next visit Iceland, those plates will have moved again. That’s pretty cool right?!
We returned back to the hotel around 4.30pm and had a quick turn around ready for our next trip…a 5.30pm collection to head to the Blue Lagoon! Yet another surreal experience! The lagoon itself is man made but as we were told by our tour guide, it’s essentially somewhere that had a pool of water being fed by a geothermal power plant and someone decided it would be a good idea to bathe there…hmmm ok then! It has since developed into the spa that it is today. Still fed by the water from the power plant which is rich in silica and sulphur, said to be key in healing certain skin conditions. Prior to entering the spa, you must shower and anyone with long hair was advised to use conditioner and leave it in to help protect it from the silica which can dry hair out. My hubby and I didn’t fancy the ice cold walk from the spa doors to the heat of the pool and opted for the gentler option in which was a small pool leading from indoors to outside!
Once in the water, the warmth was like being in an open air hot tub. If you can then picture being in said hot tub, at night, with minimal lighting with ice cold winds and being battered with snow yet being in hot water! It was unreal to say the least! I tried to take photos but my hands were freezing so my phone was quickly put away! The addition of the swim up bar and the mud face mask made the experience complete! I would love to return and experience the Lagoon during day time to be able to appreciate the surrounding area more, however I am glad we opted for a night time experience as that in itself was amazing.
The tiredness from that day lead to us being quite pleased to be told that the second attempt to see the Northern Lights had been called off. The weather conditions meant that we were not likely to see them anyway and in honesty we were glad to just get to sleep!!
Our third and final day involved a trip into Reykjavik centre and another Northern Lights trip…come back to check out the next post soon 🙂
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