Thanks to talesfromthecrypt’s advice, we rented a car and road-tripped the Golden Circle. (Thanks again, girl, it was amazing!)
The Golden Circle is basically a collection of natural wonders just outside of Reykjavik. The trip took us 12.5 hours from start to finish. We were apprehensive about driving in a foreign country, but it was a piece of cake for the most part. The only real differences were roundabouts and bridges on a two-way street that merge into one lane. (Ok, the bridges were scary as shit at first, but you get the hang of it).
The first pic is of Kerid Crater, a breathtaking volcanic crater lake filled with spring water. It was once a magna chamber that erupted and collapsed in on itself. We hiked up, around, and down into the crater. It was one of my favorite stops of the whole trip.
The next pic is of Gullfoss Waterfall. You can’t tell from the picture, but it is pouring down rain and hail on us. The weather turns on a dime here in Iceland. Literally, one minute it’s sunny and the next it’s raining, hailing, or snowing. Base layers, wool socks, and waterproof clothing/shoes have been giving us life.
We befriended Icelandic ponies with luscious locks along the way. One came right up to me and let me pet him. These ponies could be in Pantene commercials or front a hair metal band with that hair of theirs.
The next couple of pictures were taken in Thingvellir National Park. The pic with the bridge shows clearly that the park sits at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American plates are diverging an average of two centimeters every year.
The park is also the site of Iceland’s first parliament in 930. The pic with me in it was taken at the top of the Ax Waterfall, which was also the Icelandic court of law. Basically, if a man was found guilty, they’d chop off his head, throw it here, and let it drop off into the falls below, to make an example out of him. They were easier on a woman found guilty; they’d merely stuff her in a sack and drown her at the base of the falls. Fittingly, they film Game of Thrones here.
Lastly, I nailed a pretty sweet pic of Strukkur Geyser erupting. My hands froze solid waiting for the eruption to occur, but it was worth it. The geyser is located in a 10,000-year-old geothermal field.
I wish I were more poetic. I’ve seen so many awe-inspiring things here, and the best I can come up with at the time is: “WTF” or “OMG” or “How is that even real?” or simply, “Ughhhhh…” I’ve been at a loss for words at how incredible this place is. It’s an amazing thing to exist on this little planet of ours.
A trip to Iceland would not be complete without riding Icelandic horses. Most of the time we spent imagining how these were the horses that Hannibal would have rescued in Aionios, how Will would have had to learn to ride on these, enjoying how close to the ground they were (stubby, fluffy things, we adore them) and being highly amused by the fact that Blood got the calm and good horse, and Whiskey got the stroppy and difficult one.