On the third day in Iceland we took the plunge by renting a car (terrifying if you’ve seen the way Icelandic folks drive) and traveling to the Golden Circle. We decided to rent because it cost about the same amount as one ticket on the tour, so we would save some money, go at our own pace, and explore a bit. Was it worth it? Absolutely. It was breathtaking. We started the day in Þingvellir which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. It’s important for a few reasons one being it’s where the European and North American plates are shifting, the second being it’s the site of the first parliament in the world (or so is believed). Viking parliament! Anyhow, we saw some great mountains, the foliage is very mossy and lush and there were crevasses and fissures everywhere. Some were full of beautiful turquoise water. In one of those were several silver coins at the bottom which is because the king long long ago went down there and all the villagers tossed coins to greet him. We also saw some divers jumping into one of these holes which was fun.
After Þingvellir we went to see Gullfoss a magnificent waterfall with 2 stages of falling water, and Geysir, the geysir all other geysirs are named after, which doesn’t actually erupt anymore but nearby Strokker does (most geysir photos are in the youtube sequence below). Following Strokker, based on an exchange of words with a lovely nordic girl at one of hundreds of tourism offices in Reykjavik, we went in search of a volcanic crater that is highly impressive because you walk up a normal looking hill and it’s all hollow with turquoise water. However, on our way came something we were not expecting. It was sheep herding day for some farms. We were driving, got to the top of a hill and all we could see was 70 sheep and 10 people mounted on horses driving them into pens. This happened three times on our way to the crater. The horse masters were drinking from flasks and singing loudly which made for an interesting spectacle. Overall it was a great day.
Next up: Paris