I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Reykjavik, Iceland. I had heard so many tales about the scenery and imagined what it would be like to live on an island that is so volcanic that geothermal energy is essentially the gross national product. What would it be like to actually walk between the two continents? The island of Iceland actually sits on the European and North American plates and the act of continental drift creates and destroys the island at the same time. Several glaciers cover the island also, so it is know as the land of fire and ice.
Our first day would be spent exploring a few of the thermal features and and a few of the waterfalls created by the melting snow and glaciers. Our first stop was Thingvillir National Park, not only a sight of great beauty, but also of historic significance as this is where the first Nordic tribes who had settled Iceland gathered to form their main government system. This is also the spot where the two continental plates split apart, creating some spectacular cracks in the earth.
This area is also a popular snorkeling area where visitors can snorkel between continents in the clear naturally filtered waters. If you have ever watched Game of Thrones, one of the deep earth cracks, caused by the splitting of the two continental plates was used as the approach to the Vale castle.
From the National Park, we then drove out to see the Strokkur Geyser. This Geyser is the most regular in the world, erupting every 8 to 10 minutes or so. We were lucky enough to see it erupt several times during our visit. Next we headed to my favorite site of the day, the Gullfoss Waterfalls, or Golden Falls. It was really something special, from the scenic cliffs to its two perpendicular diagonal drops, it was a breathtaking waterfall and we even got to see a rainbow in the mist.
Our tour guide stopped on the way back to the cruise ship to give us another “Bonus Waterfall” . A little smaller and a little more simple, named Faxi Waterfall. But it was a nice last stop on our Golden Circle Tour.
Perhaps the best part of our day in Reykjavik was that we had an overnight stay and would get a second day touring. On our Second Day, we had a nice morning tour of the town where we got to check out the art walk along the shore, the famous cathedral built in the emblematic Icelandic style, some of the modern buildings, and the White House Building where Regan and Gorbachev Held an early arms summit.
The highlight of our second day was visiting the Blue Lagoon spa. This spa is fed by run-off from a geothermal plant and the water is very high in minerals. We enjoyed a quick dip in the large spa surrounded by other-worldly volcanic landscape and a refreshing beverage. Yes, it was over priced and yes, our stay there was too short, but the experience is like nothing I have ever done before.