Sunday, October 30, 2016

Iceland - Golden Circle

Day 4, the coach went just a few miles and our driver found we were out of gas. The gauge said there should still be gas in the tank, but he needed pull to the side of the highway and call their company about the problem.  Apparently, several of these buses had the same problem: the fuel float stuck, indicating there was still gas, when there wasn't any left.  
I got out and saw these beautiful purple flowers on the road side while waiting for the replacement bus.

Meanwhile, someone from our group was playing with a camera drone he brought on the trip.

After about 10 mins, another coach came for us, so we continued our travel along the Hvalfjordur.

The first stop was at an Icelandic wool outlet store, there is Alafoss at the back.

Along the street were some other stores also.

Then we continue southwest to Tingvellier National Park, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.

A UNESCO World Heritage site.

The layers of basalt rocky landscape.  Part of "Game of Thrones" was filmed along this gigantic wall.

The Golden Circle route means Tingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss, which are located close together.

The next stop was Geysir. The chef of Restaurant Geysir prepared freshly baked hot spring bread, served with Icelandic butter, geothermally boiled eggs and Geysir Schnapps. The rain was coming, not good timing; we didn't have time to enjoy the food much, as everyone ran indoors.    

Steve was tempted to get a viking helmet, but he said the size didn't fit his big head

Steam rising from the Geysir geysers & thermal pools. There are many geysers and bubbling pools in this area.

Strokkur, "the Churn", erupts at 5-10 mins intervals.

While waiting for Strokkur to erupt, we saw some people walking up the nearby hill, so we went up too.  The view of the surrounding area was fantastic.

From half way up we could see the geyser erupting again.

After Geysir, we went on to Gullfoss.

A dramatic double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvita river.

We could feel its elemental power.

These attract tourists in summer and winter.

An Icelandic horse we met at the horse farm where we stopped.

The 5 gaits of the Icelandic horse; the farm guide told us about its special qualities.

And rode it to show us those 5 different gaits.

The horse farm's neighbor is an indoor geothermal greenhouse.  They mainly grow tomatoes and use beehive boxes, like this one, to pollinate the plants.

We stay in Fosshotel Hekla. While waiting to see northern lights, some guests enjoyed a comfortable soak in the hot tub in the garden of the hotel after dinner.

Even though sometimes the sky was clear, we still didn't see northern lights before going back to the room.

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