Today, Sari and I woke up early in the small town of Vik, and started out drive back into Reykjavik.
The first stop of the day was at the fast-moving Solheimajokull glacier, which we stopped at for a bit to hike around on the ice. In this area of Iceland, ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption blankets the area, and it was very apparent on the glacier. The ice was covered with a thick layer of volcanic ash, which trickled down in the glacial meltwater.
As we drove West, we found that the entire countryside was blanketed with ash. It had already been swept off the roads by large sweepers, but looking in the grass, plants were growing through a think layer of it.
From there, we drove west towards Reykjavik, and got onto the Golden Circle pathway. This is the classic Iceland tour, and as soon as we were on the road that goes around to the Golden Circle sights, we were hit with a ton of tourist traffic.
Despite the Golden Circle being very touristy, Gulfoss, Geysir, and Þingvellir were all great. Gulfloss is Iceland’s most famous waterfall, and really is quite spectacular. It drops twice into a think canyon, sending upo a huge spray of mist. Geysir is a large geotherma field and is the home of the origiginal Geysir. We walked around here for a bit, and watched the Strokkur Geisir explode a few times. Additionally, we walked through the steaming, bubbling geothermal field, which contained multiple holes in the ground with crystal clear, boiling water – a contrast to the boiling sulfur mud pots around Myvatn.
Our final stop on the Golden Circle path was at Þingvellir park. The park is Iceland’s first national park ,and was made a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2004. In AD 930 the vikings established the word’s first democratic parlament, called the Althing. We hiked around this area and saw the “Law Rock”, as well as checked out the fissure that divides the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
After the Golden Circle, we drove the rest of the way back to Reykjavik, returned our rental car, and got set up at Kelly and Sam’s house. We’re staying here in downtown Reykjavik tonight, and tomorrow Sari flies back home to Helsinki, and I’m going scuba diving in a volcanic fissure.