The Golden Circle

We left Kellermans Mountain Lake Lodge this morning and turned left towards the Golden Circle – a well trodden path of natural wonder.  We hadn’t gone too far down the road when we noticed a smattering of people up on a hill in the distance.  As we got closer we saw the full car park and pulled in….  In Iceland, they are big on tourism, but they are bigger on letting the tourists find out things for themselves.  There are no signs letting you know that in 100 metres there is something worth stopping to see.  There aren’t even signs at the actual location of the tourist attraction – you just have to know it’s there and instinctively know to stop there.

Yesterday on our road trip to Vik we passed a full car car park just off the main road where people looked to be leaving their cars and walking towards the horizon into the abyss of moonlike landscape – they seemed to be headed towards to ocean.  There were no signs on the road, nor in the carpark.  “What were they going to look at?”,  we wondered as we drove on past.  “If it was icebergs on the beach, it’d look at that”, “it’s probably nesting birds”, “how far are they walking?”, “do we want to walk that far?”  The conversation was picked up again on the way back.  The car park was still full and flocks of people were still disappearing into the distance.

It wasn’t until this morning when I had wifi that I pulled up Google Maps and searched along the coast line for something…. anything and it turns out that there is a plane wreck there – you can take a tour there.  We searched in the Lonely Planet and all the brochures and articles we had on Iceland and not a peep.  Not a single mention of a plane wreck.  How did these people know?  It’s a 4 mile round journey on foot…. you’d have to be pretty keen.

Anyway…. we’re back to today where there were people standing on top of a big hill, so we parked and joined them.  What we  had stumbled upon was the Kerid crater.  (I’ve attached a link for those interested in learning a bit more about it).


We got our walking sticks out and trekked all the way around the top.


Apparently the water never empties out of the crater, but rises and falls according to the water table… there are a few other craters in the area whose water level rises and falls in an opposite reaction to this crater – cerazy!


Because it’s on private property, the owner has taken to charging people an entry fee to have a look… I think that all that money must have gone to the installation and upkeep of the safety fences that have been placed in a few locations around the crater.

We made it to the top – it’s not Everest, but I reckon it felt the same.


There was talk of visiting a hot spring for a wee dip.  There are a few along the Golden Circle, so we pulled into one called Fontana in a village called Laugarvartn.  It sits right on a geothermal lake that smells like sulphur – hmmmm, very relaxing.


That white stuff you can see over near the path is egg shells – somebody has cooked eggs in the steam.  Funny – cooked eggs that small like rotten eggs – oh the humanity!


Water that woud definitely cook you if you were to hop in.


Me Jenny is just testing out the waters….. and she can confirm that it was indeed hot.


We wandered down to Fontana to have a look at the outdoor pools, but they were all 38-40 degrees and the people sitting in them looked red and puffy, possibly with 3rd degree burns, so we gave it a miss.


Next stop on the Golden Circle – Geysir.  A geothermal field with a surface area of about 3km².  The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes.  This was definitely one of the more popular tourist attractions.


Please note the last point.


This one didn’t blow, but it did bubble.


This is the one that blows and I was taking a photo of all the people standing around waiting for it to happen when……


It happened!


This man wasn’t taking any chances – he read that sign at the beginning and he took Rule Number 5 very seriously.


Just near the major gusher were these two steaming pools – the first was this amazing blue colour – just like the Blue Lagoon hot spring (I guess, we didn’t go there)


and the other was completely clear  – you could see right down into that deep hole at the back.


Then we sat and waiting for the geysir to blow again….

Our final major attraction on the Golden Circle tour is Gullfoss – Iceland’s most famous waterfall.  The word Gullfoss means Golden Falls and it’s a double cascade, which is pretty special.  The story behind these falls is that the land was owned by Tomas Tomason and a team of foreign investors wanted to dam the river for a hydro electirc project.  Tom said, “It’s not for sale friend.” so the developers went to the government and got permission anyway to go ahead.  Tom’s daughter, Sigridur walked barefoot to Reykjavik in protest and threatened to throw herself into the falls if the development went ahead.  Sigridur was saved from that watery fate thought because the developers didn’t pay the lease – and so all was saved!  Horrah!


Info for those interested….  apparently it has the same power as Niagara – that’s nothing to sneeze at!

She was a little wet and blustery here and I’d just washed and blowdried my hair, so off we trotted in our matching outfits.


We wound our way back home a different way and stopped at a few little villages, but none caught our eye like this one – Fudir – the town had a school, a wine shop, a petrol station and an Ethiopean restaurant!


Another town helped us to learn how they grown fruit and vegies in Iceland without much sunlight….


Another massive day of sightseeing and learning, and when it started rainging hard again, we thought we’d head back to Kellermans to cosy up and relax in our robes and slippers……


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