Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is probably the most popular thing in Iceland as it is a day-roundtrip reachable from Reykjavik with lots of places on the way that kind of cover all the stuff you can find in Iceland, just in mini-version. This means there is a waterfall, a lavafield, a view on the glacier, a vulcano crater with a unusually blue lake in it, some stunning landscapes, a little viking heritage, sheep on the street and einbreidbrús (I will write about them in my next and last post about Iceland) and even the only Geysir that regularily bursts water into the air.

Of course, you can't compare it with all the experiences we made while driving around the whole island, but it was for sure worth our while. We were even amazed again, after all this two weeks of overly thrilling places, overwhelming experiences and exhausting travel.

As we knew there will be lots of tourists because there are maaany tours from Reykjavik leaving daily and even as much individual travelers going there we decided to get up early and reach the first spot before the tour busses arrive. This worked quite well, the first place was a valley/national park where vikings used to have a village. There is almost nothing left of this village but it was really beautiful here.

Again I felt the urge to hike and explore the whole national park even if I knew I wouldn't get far. When we left we saw the tourists becoming more and more, just standing above the valley taking their pictures while we were walking and exploring it. This is why the first tour busses quickly caught up with us - they did not spend so much time in one location.

Next stop was the Geysir. This was the thing we all were looking forward to and it was quite hard exploring it because we knew the Geysir would only burst every 10-15 minutes so we felt like we had to watch it all time not to miss a thing. But then we also wanted to explore the area because there used to be another, even bigger Geysir around and again there were pools of boiling mud and steaming water everywhere around and even a small hilltop to climb on top of - we just couldn't resist, we had to get to the top and see it all from above.

When just staring at the Geysir and waiting for what it would do next, we realized how sleepy we actually were. We could have probably stared at it endlessly but at some point it got cold.

Afterwards we visited the Gullfoss - it was said to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls of Iceland, also called the "Golden waterfall". To tell the truth, I kind of hoped more for a blue waterfall. Maybe it's more golden in the sun or maybe it really is impressing if you haven't seen each and every popular waterfall of Iceland before coming to Gullfoss. For me it was like Dettifoss without the stunning landscape around. But you could see the glacier all the water comes from while standing on top of the waterfall!

Then we had to realize we are actually way more tired than we expected so the next stop at some really nice and small village ended in us almost lying down in front of the church because it looked like a comfortable spot. But after considering the other tourists arriving at the same village, we found the motivation for a short walk into the nature where I napped on a really uncomfortable rock. I have no idea how I survived this vacation without severe backpain considering the heavy backpack and my diverse napping positions on different rocks I found.

This gave us enough energy to head to our last stop, Kerid, which is a vulcano crater filled with ground water. The water inside was neither steaming hot as the hotpots nor ice cold as the glacier water. It was just ground water, probably as cold as the sea. What I liked about this crater (beside from its beautiful shape of blue) was that you could just walk down to the lake, surround it, stick your finger into the water to feel its temperature. Nevertheless, I still consider Quilotoa Lagoon as the most beautiful crater lake I have ever seen. But I have this feeling that if I had visited Askja, a place in the highlands with a hot crater lake you can actually bathe in, I would have found the new most beautiful crater lake. Because I already accepted that Iceland always has the more beautiful spots than you have ever seen anywhere before.

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