Iceland - Day Two

This morning we got started with our complimentary breakfast buffet. We were actually the first ones to sample the full spread which starts at 7AM. They apparently have a “quick” buffet with the simple things like cereal and dried fruit available as early as 4:30.  When we got there, there were banquet trays with hash browns, eggs and sausage as well as an assortment of meats, cheeses, spreads, fish, juices, etc. It was one of the best “complimentary breakfasts” I’ve experienced.

So we ate and then caught our bus to the downtown area to head off on our “Golden Circle” tour. I hate to say that I didn’t catch the tour guide’s name, he did an awesome job of babysitting the 63 tourists on board. The driver was Gudnar, Rick caught that much.

Our first stop on the circuit was Thingvellir Park. The landscape on the drive was close to the same as already described from yesterday’s travels – snow-covered rocks but with more grasses and little naked birch trees. I know that they were birch trees because our tour guide shared a lot of information with us including topography, agriculture, government, history, natural flora and fauna, etc, etc. When the vikings arrived here way back sometime in the 8th or 9th century the island was 40% timbered and it’s now only 1.4%. Most of the damage was done early on by farmers and ranchers clearing land, settlers building houses and then using wood to heat their homes. So now there are very few trees.

We got out of the bus and walked around the Thingvellir area where the first parliament met back in 930. There’s a famous photography sight right there and we perused that. I almost just got back on the bus as, while we were standing on a breezy overlook, I was shaking and my teeth were chattering, it was about 5 degrees! But as soon as I started walking again I was fine so we did the walk together and I’m glad I opted to do the walk.

We went past one of our destinations and headed for another, Gullfoss. It’s a large cascade of waterfalls and the guide kept telling us how special they would be, being that they were partially frozen. Well, not so much. It was a nice walk and we had lunch in the area. The Gullfoss café was set up to accommodate bus tours with nice restrooms, a souvenir shop (with hats that cost more than the tour we were on) and a dining room. They made a big deal about their “lamb meat soup” that we could get a discount on so as to goad everyone into trying that soup. Well, I have no desire to eat any baby animals so I opted to just have a cup of cocoa and Rick got the soup. Our bill was 1700k after our 150k discount. That meant that bowl of soup was 1350k after the discount. That’s some expensive soup!

We headed back to the sight we’d already passed, the Geysir area. It was a mini–Yellowstone with bubbling pots, sulfur-smelling steam and geysers. The one that was putting on the show was pretty good about doing so on a fairly regular and very often basis. It would just suddenly shoot steam and water, sometimes just a few yards up, sometimes much higher! With a BOOM! when it did. And given that the air temp was below freezing we were warned to watch where we were standing so as to avoid getting a freezing shower. It also meant lots of slick ice to try to walk on. It was another interesting stop.

After that stop there were a few more but I was getting extremely sleepy and I wasn’t as interested so I stayed on the bus and snoozed but Rick got out. There was a church built in 1961 with a couple remains on the property of some old churches and whatnot. Next a caldera with a frozen lake in the bottom. Rick brought back pictures of that. People had walked on the lake and spelled out the words “Hello Friends” on the snow on top of the ice. We then drove through the town of Hveragerdi where the thermal pockets are plentiful and shallow so they utilize them in their greenhouses. Our last stop was a power plant with a paid exhibition for those who were interested. I again stayed on the bus and napped.

Once back at the hotel we got our car, a cute, red, bug-eyed Nissan Micra and started the nghtly routine of searching for food. But since we’d done it once already and was finally getting a feel for the lay of the land (and I insisted that we go back to our room and find out exactly where the subway restaurants were that we’d seen before) it didn’t take as long. Plus having a car to move about in was much quicker and warmer. So we found our Subway, got our sammiches and headed for the end of the peninsula that Reyjkavik resides on, to eat with a view of the Gróttuviti lighthouse. We had already missed the sunset (again) but there was still enough residual light that I could get a shot of the lighthouse out there.

We headed back to our room for a short breather, do some facebook, etc then back on the road to try to catch some Northern lights. I had an idea that we wanted to head east, away from the city and uphill slightly but still had a problem figuring out exactly what road that meant. We ended up on the road to Vik that we would be venturing out on the next day but it goes off in a south-easterly direction. We turned around after not too long though and headed up a hill on road 431/435. As we were cresting a hill we were scraping the top layer of snow off the center of the road so we had to keep our speed up and I saw it – green lights twirling and dancing in the sky! STOP! IT’S HAPPENING! We were actually at a good place to park so we whipped around, got out our cameras set up to what we thought we needed to get good stuff (although we both missed setting the right aperture) and started shooting. It was everywhere, sometimes all across the sky, flying by the moon, then there were little shooting spikes in another area, and the main spot was right near a cloud with big dancing swirls that turned pink as they neared the horizon.

Once we were completely and utterly satisfied with our 15 minute show we headed home and hit the hay. Tomorrow – Road Trip!

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About Me

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After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.