A weekend in Iceland

This past weekend we revisited Iceland three years after my first visit. This time the reason was to visit Katrine who has been studying there this month.

I really enjoy the relaxed vibe of Reykjavik. No one is in a hurry, and it's very quiet considering it is the largest city in Iceland.

We got in very late on Friday night - rented a car and drove it to our AirBnB. We finally got to bed at 2:30AM local time (4:30AM Norwegian time), and had 6 hours to sleep before we were expected to be at Katrine's place for breakfast. When our alarms went off we threw on our hiking clothes and packed our bags for our daytrip. We were greeted with a great breakfast (including Skyr!! - Icelandic style yoghurt - my favorite).
[Natural skyr with warmed up (frozen) berries]

[I love breakfast]

Saturday's itinerary was the Golden Circle. Without stopping it takes a little over three hours to drive the route. We started around 10 and got back by 6-ish. The highlights of the drive are Þingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir.

Þingvellir (or Thingvellir) - "The Parliament Plains"

A national park, world heritage site, and site of the Alþing general assembly (est. 930)

Upon driving in we pulled over for a view over the national park. This place is considered to be the site of the first democratic parliament in the world. It is also the location of a large rift where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. 

As this area was used like a courtroom and dealing out punishment, this was also the area where men were beheaded and women were drowned for the crimes they committed (mainly dealing with incest and infidelity)...

[Þingvellir National Park map]
[Walking down the middle of the rift- it separates between 1mm to 18mm a year]

[The rain is clearing!]

Gullfoss - "Golden Falls" 

A woman known as the savior of the falls is depicted in a sculpture here, and was described on an information plaque as "one of 13 children, she was strongly built, average looks, and strict" --- I wish I had taken a picture of it. She is remembered for having saved the falls from being dammed and used for hydroelectricity.

Geysir - The geyser that gave the name to geysers around the world; (" was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans.").

This one was cool. It goes off every 5-10 minutes and shoots at least 10 meters up in the air! We watched it a few times and walked around the area a bit. The tourist shop there was pretty big and had a big cafe where we got cappuccinos and ice cream.

[about to pop!]

Extras - the crater (Kedir) and Icelandic horses

[An explosion 6500 years ago created this crater]
[Icelandic horses]

[Marius was a little afraid of this killer]

The Blue Lagoon

On Sunday we went to the Blue Lagoon. We had been there before, but only for a quick dip to try it out. This time we actually did as much as we could (or as much as we could afford): swimming around, silica mud masks, steam bath, sauna and a pummeling waterfall. We were lucky with sunshine and perfect weather! We finished the day with a nice dinner and ice cream (again), and a walk around town. 

[More pictures on the GoPro, but this was the one I had saved to my phone]

[Walking around the Old Harbor]

[The iconic Hallgrimskirkje and statue of Leif Eriksson]

[The organ inside Hallgrim]

[Reykjavik - you're awesome...til next time!]

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