Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I want to go everywhere I haven't been, and back to everywhere I have been.

Monday, November 27, 2017

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE





FFOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

It's a three-alarm morning. My Fitbit vibrates at 7:00; my cell phone dings at 7:05; my wake-up call comes at 7:15. There is no room for an oversleep error today. It's a special day - today is Fran's birthday......the reason for this trip! 

We will spend the day touring The Golden Circle, one of Iceland's "must see" sights. Later, we'll celebrate at a restaurant recommended to us by the Reykjavik Food Walk people. As fun as it was exploring Reykjavik yesterday, getting out into the countryside is going to be amazing!

I am downstairs in the hotel restaurant promptly at 7:45 a.m. We eat a hearty breakfast because our lunch situation is sketchy. An email from the tour company says "gastronomic selections outside of Reykjavik are limited." Hmmmm, that doesn't sound good. We prepare for the worst - bringing containers of Skyr (affil. link) and some trail mix. At least we won't starve.

We head over to Hallgrimskirkja Church at 8:30 a.m. for our tour group pick-up. The sun has not yet risen, but the stop is bustling with people waiting for their various tours. Our mini bus arrives. Oscar is our tour guide today. 

As we drive out of Reykjavik, the sun begins to rise. It's nice not having to be up at the crack of dawn to witness this.......oh, wait - it is the crack of dawn, it's just that the "crack" is at the civilized hour of 9:00 a.m.

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Before seeing the sights, we stop at a bakery "in case we want to pick up something for lunch," Oscar says. Oh boy, this lunch situation isn't sounding too good. I buy a "Hverabraud," -- Icelandic rye bread -- which is baked underground with hot spring steam. It doesn't even closely resemble bread with the same name back home, which explains why the rye bread ice cream (I kid you not!) on the food tour yesterday was so delicious. The bread weighs about five pounds. I think it we can live off of it for days, if necessary.

Soon after leaving the city, the landscape changes dramatically. We zip down Route 1 (or "Ring Road"), Iceland's main highway, which one can drive around the entire country in 12-13 hours. We'll only travel a small portion of it today. The view out of the bus window has me snapping pictures left and right. Well, only right, actually, as that's the side of the bus I'm seated on. I'm not hopeful that any of these pictures will come out clear, but maybe a couple will.

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

After about an hour, we approach our first stop -- the Faxi Waterfall. We walk down a short dirt path to find what Oscar describes as one of the smaller, yet more beautiful waterfalls. Iceland has so many waterfalls, he says, that no one has ever counted them. When I google it later, I learn there are more than 10,000 waterfalls in this country that is slightly smaller than the state of Kentucky.

Our first vantage point is from above. As I press the shutter button over and over, I silently apologize to my blog followers for inundating them with way too many photos of the same waterfall, as it's going to be hard to narrow down hundreds to a half dozen. And, this isn't even the good waterfall!

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

In season, the river Tungofljot (I don't attempt to pronounce that even inside the private confines of my head) is filled with salmon, and the fish ladder to the left of the falls (top photo) was built to help the salmon swim upstream. 

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We walk down the hill to see Faxi up close, and suddenly, it doesn't seem so small anymore.

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We're here only about 15 minutes, because Oscar has us on a tight schedule. 

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

In minutes we arrive at Geysir Hot Springs at Haukadalur geothermal fields. I catch myself just in time before blurting out to Fran, "Wow, they named a hot spring after the store, Geysir, that we saw in Reykjavik yesterday." What saves me is that a geyser erupts just as we pull into the parking lot....... Ohhhhhhh....... Geyser....... Geysir....... I get it. Store named after hot springs. Yeah, I knew that. 

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The great Geysir, the grandfather of all waterfalls, is the namesake of all geysers world wide.  It's mostly dormant now.......perhaps it ran out of steam, lol? 

Geysir's neighbor, Strokkur, however, doesn't dissapoint. Strokkur is Iceland's "Old Faithful." I've never seen that old geezer, er, geyser, but I understand it doesn't errupt as frequently as Strokkur, which blows off steam every 5 to 10 minutes.

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I barely have time to take my lens cap off, when Strokkur blows. 

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Our stop at Geysir includes time for lunch at what appears to be an Icelandic food court. Despite the warnings of meager culinary offerings, we are pleasantly surprised with our steaming bowls of sweet potato soup, accompanied by that delicious Icelandic bread. If I only eat bread for the next three days in Iceland, I'm good with that. 

Feeling fortified, we're on to our next stop, the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall.

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Oh-oh-oh-OH-WOW!

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It isn't the biggest waterfall in Iceland, but it is known to be one of the prettiest.

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Every angle that we view Gullfoss from is more breathtaking than the last, but this one has got to be the best. 

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It's time to move on. Thingvellir National Park is our final stop. On our way there, Oscar asks if we'd like to see some Icelandic horses. He gives us only one instruction: do not call them ponies! Apparently, they find this quite insulting.

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

This beauty and I bond over a discussion about hair care products and blow-drying techniques.


We say goodbye to the horses, and head to Thingvillir, Iceland's "greatest historical sight and jewel of nature." It was designated a World Heritage Sight in 2004. We are seeing only a small part of this national park treasure.

We walk up a long path between volcanic rocks to a viewing platform.  


Thingvellir is known as an unusual tectonic and volcanic environment in a rift valley. I have no idea what any of that means, and because our tour is not guided, I will have to google all of this when I get home to figure out exactly what we are seeing.

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I don't know the details of this beautiful spot as we walk by it, but I find out later that up until the 18th century, women who were found guilty of murder, adultery, incest, and the like were drowned here. It is called Drekkingarhylur, aka, The Drowning Pool. I'd rather not have learned that tidbit, thank you very much.

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

This is the only place on earth where the Eurasion and North American tectonic plates are visible on dry land. The remainder of the seam runs under the Atlantic Ocean. Here in Thingvellir, the plates are slowly pulling apart. I'm no geologist, but apparently, most of the world's volcanic activity is caused by this movement. We are blissfully unaware of this, focusing only on the beauty of the landscape spread out beneath us.  

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Photo by Fran

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Photo by Fran (that's me on the right)

Our Golden Circle tour has now ended, and we are back in Reykjavik at about 5:30 p.m. Most people would go back to the hotel and rest before dinner, but not Fran and me. It's shopping time! We drop our things at the hotel, and head back out to the streets of Reykjavik to do our part for the Icelandic economy.

Unlike yesterday, today I am determined to buy something! In minutes, I purchase an Icelandic wool hat......a toque, if you will. I try on a few sweaters, but I think I will melt in all that wool. And then I see the answer to my souvenir prayers........I don't have to purchase an entire sweater, I can buy just the yoke!  It's like a mini-cape to wear over a top. I trust Fran's fashion instincts, so when she says, "Get it," I say, okey-doke, and leave the shop with a yoke and a toque. No joke.

We head back to the hotel to shower and change. It's time to celebrate Fran's birthday at Matarkjallarinn, or Food Cellar. We wait for our table at the bar, with champagne for the birthday girl, and a spiced apple martini for me (more on Icelandic food in an upcoming post). Cheers!

FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

To be continued.........


Resources:
Snaps Bistro (Hotel Odinsve)
GeoIceland Tours: Golden Circle
Supa (soup restaurant at Geysir Center) 
Matarkjallarinn (Food Cellar)

Here's a sneak peek at Day 3:
FOUR DAYS IN ICELAND - DAY 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 You can read about Day 1 here:

4 Days In Iceland: Day 1: Reykjavik | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
4 Days In Iceland: Day 1-Reykjavik



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23 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous place! No!wonder photographers flock there. I don't know if I'll ever get there, but I'm thoroughly enjoying seeing it through your eyes.

    I didn't realize the sun came up so late in Iceland. I think that would definitely make me a very late riser!

    xxx

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  2. This is nature at its best. You have capture some beautiful pics. I cannot wait to see what foods you guys had.
    xoox
    Kris

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  3. Your pictures look like they are from National Geographic! When I realize there are tiny people next to those falls, I am amazed! It all looks cold but very exciting and surreal.

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  4. Look at those gorgeous pics! What a great introduction to Iceland for those of us that haven't been. We just got back from Thanksgiving in Boston and Plymouth (chilly and rainy one day but otherwise high 50*s and beautiful). Can't wait to hear more about the food. Rye ice cream?? And that apple martini... I die.

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  5. That looks amazing. What a wonderful trip. It's totally on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I went to Iceland on May and it was an experience for the books. We were not able to find the Faxi waterfall. I think we saw the sign but didn't know where to go. I want to visit the country again.

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  7. What a wonderful place to visit Amy and I love the beautiful photos you took of it! Thanks for sharing at C&C with J&J!

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  8. So enjoyed this post.
    Reading and seeing details of your amazing trip.

    All the best Jan

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  9. We loved Iceland, the raw beauty of the landscape and the hospitable nature of the horses!
    Kay
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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  10. Those are great shot of the Geysir and what a truly stunning landscape

    Mollyx

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  11. This is another place I would love to visit, with all the time in the world to enjoy it. - Margy

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  12. Such an incredible place of glorious beauty! All those waterfalls are just incredible to see! Amazing how many tourists are visiting there too. I enjoyed every bit of your engaging and amazing tour through the eyes of your camera and Fran's too. What a way to celebrate a birthday :) Can't wait for your next installment :)

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  13. 10,000 waterfalls ... I would die and go to heaven based on the couple that you showed! Thanks for sharing this slice of beauty with us!

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  14. This trip looks incredible! I'd love to see Iceland for myself.

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  15. Amazing! This makes me want to visit Iceland. I giggled through your descriptions and your humorous observations. The waterfalls are simply beautiful and you captured them well. Looking forward to seeing more and hopefully you'll post a picture of your yoke and yoque!

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  16. Wow; those waterfalls are stunning! I too would love to see a pic of the toque and yoke.

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  17. Those pictures are fabulous!! I am like you in that I cannot stop snapping when surrounded by such beauty. Love the serial pics of the geyser!!

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  18. I can't get over the beauty of those waterfalls! You were able to get so close too...although some pictures of the people standing near the edge of those cliffs got me a little stressed... I am not a fan of heights! As always, I loved your commentary. Thanks for sharing at the August Take Me Away Party! So great to see your travels!
    Shelley

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