We enjoyed our stay near Reykjavik for a few days and it was time to move to our next accomodation in Hveragerõi. We booked this as it was closer to the Golden Circle. The mountainous landscape on our short one hour drive from Reykjavik was stunning. The town we were staying in was renowned for its greenery and we were impressed by the flowers lining the streets.
We were keen to see some of the geological features of the area and, in the middle of the town, there was a geothermal park. It was quite small, and some of the thermal pools no longer had water in them due to the earthquake a few years back that changed the water flow. However, it was cheap and there was hardly anyone there. We purchased some delectable rye bread, which traditionally is baked in thermal ovens (ie heated by the thermal pools) and it was very tasty.
We admired some old greenhouses on the way to our accomodation which was a self contained apartment – very nice and cozy.
Strokkur & Geysir
Our first day trip from our new accommodation was to see 2 of the main highlights of Iceland’s Golden Circle. The first was Geysir. Geysir was the original geysir after which all others have been named. However, it does not spurt water anymore, as humans had poured salt down the hole too many times to get it to erupt – this eroded the walls of the hole, meaning that the geysir no longer ‘works’. However, a few metres away was a geysir not destroyed by humans – Strokkur. This erupts every 5 to 7 minutes. It is important to keep a distance as it is spurting out hot water. A crowd gather and everyone waits with eager anticipation. Then suddenly, shockingly, it spurts high into the air. Then quiet again. We watched it four times. Every time was just as exciting. And what’s more – it was free!!
A short drive from the geysir was the next of the big Golden Circle sights – Gulfoss waterfall. This too was a free experience. We parked and admired the glacier in the distance and then we made the short walk down the boardwalk – with the sound of the waterfall already in our ears. Then …
Amazing! 2 tiered waterfall – so noisy -so impressive watching it cascade down into the canyon.
Bruarfoss and Midfoss
On our way back to our accomodation – we spotted a whole pile of cars parked on the side of the road. We parked and joined them – we saw a path following the river. Using the maps.me app – Rob realised that it led to a waterfall. So we decided to trek off and find it. What we didn’t know is that it wasn’t well signposted and was a bit over an hour each way. But it was a fun walk (especially seeing the horses and wildflowers) and the final waterfall was pretty special (although we enjoyed the secret waterfall Midfoss a little more as it was just us and the water was SO blue).
A big day – we just had time to stop off to see Keriõ, a crater lake (which was the first thing we had to pay for!) on the way home.
We did a quick bit of food shopping at the local supermarket – the logo looked like someone has had a bit to drink!
One of our bucket list items we wanted to do on this adventure was to go sledding with the sled dogs. Iceland was one of the few places that offered this opportunity (you have to book a while in advance and it is very expensive) – so we booked it. We eagerly set off on the day and drove along the shoreline to our destination. Bumpy roads ensued and we arrived to hear the baying of the dogs. They have over 50 sled dogs at Dogsledding Iceland and all were keen to go out for a run. They loaded about 30 dogs onto a specially built van and then we followed them by car to the starting line. We got to pat and talk to the hyperactive hounds as they were being made ready for the big run.
Some seemed a little small for the task.
And then with a jolt we were off! The launch was very quick but soon we settled into a rhythm as the sled flew along the dirt track, volcano in the distance and wind whipping through our hair. We had a few stops for the dogs – but they never seemed to want to stop for long. They even had a run through the side of the lake. Our guide was very informative and clearly loved her hounds – we certainly weren’t aware of how complicated getting the team together was – size and personality play a big part. And then just like that it was over. Certainly an experience to remember.