We decided to do a road trip along the most famous island in the North, the island of northern lights, the island of lakes and glaciers. It´s the place where you can touch the plates of Europe and North America at the same time when diving, the island of hot springs and funnily surprising, a destination on the bucket list of most of our friends.
Different from other times when we departed together from the same spot, Ed was already in Iceland waiting for Mar and for the most special guest, Camila — Mar’s sis and the first Where Are We Running sojourner. With everything planned and full of excitement, we hit the road to start the Golden Circle, a collection of VIP landmarks in the country.
Leaving Reykjavik very early, we first stopped at Thingvellir National Park, the original site of world´s longest running parliament, Alþingi. Most excitingly, this is also the place where you can see the North-American and European continental shelf plates being torn apart! Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t dive between the plates, but everything around was too beautiful to complain. Thanks to Ed’s normal impulse to break the rules, we went off track and ended up climbing on the cliffs inside a crack!
As the path was snowy, Camila had to learn how to walk and climb under those exciting new conditions (“kick the snow perpendicularly and make a ladder step at a time”). Once she had it under control, we made it on the cliffs and then we got to the top of Öxararfoss waterfall! Needless to say, the view was breathtaking: snow-capped volcanoes on the horizon, meandering rivers, lakes and distant steam columns going sky high as a constant reminder of Iceland´s geothermal heritage.
Continuing on the circle, we then visited Gullfoss (you got it, “foss” means waterfall in Icelandic), a magnificent 32m high double waterfall on the White River. Immediately when arriving, you would feel positively overwhelmed by the colours of the water, the width, the breeze, the rainbows, the foam, the hills surrounding it, the panoramic view. Absolutely everything was stunning about this place! No wonder they´re called the Golden Fall!
Every place that we visited was as beautiful as the last one but in a very different way. What we love about Iceland is how you can enjoy so many different natural formations within only hundreds of meters. With the next posts on the Icelandic series, you’ll see what we’re talking about 🙂
We left Gullfoss and kept driving, entertained by the music, the laughs and the inside jokes. Every inch of the road was an amazing landscape to admire. In fact, we were so fascinated, that we were constantly pulling over, getting off the car, sinking all in, taking a deep breath and a mental picture before digitalizing the view. The combination of green mountains with snow on the top, the empty roads, the cold fresh air, the small waterfalls that were popping up in the middle of nowhere, the steam coming out all around, it was just too much. We were constantly feeling goosebumps, getting emotional, and thinking that we were the luckiest people on Earth. Let us say it once again, Iceland is beyond belief!
Next stop was Geysir, a natural curiosity on top of our list. Despite being one of the most popular stops in Iceland, and thus having a lot of people around, it was exhilarating how close you could get to the Geysir! There wouldn’t be a fence around it or guards holding you back. Stunned by this unique blast of hot water from Earth´s trenches, we went all over the place, spellbound each time the Geysir wanted to say hello. The other ponds of crystal clear but otherwise hot and sulphur rich water are not to be missed either.
On leaving the Geysir we had two main ambitions: to reach Kerið, our last destination, and to eat some of those world-famous Icelandic hot-dogs. We found the perfect typical gas station delicious hot dog stand on and N1 in Klausturholar, at the junction between Route 35 and Route 354. Full and content, we headed SW on Route 35 to check out Kerið, a now extinguished but filled with water crater and an usually off-the-beaten track addition to the Golden Circle. The site seems to be receiving an increasing number of tourists though and this was reflected in some intensive improvements in the visitor infrastructure. The impeccable water at the bottom of the crater creates a magnificent contrast with the dark-red shades of the steep crater slopes, above which a considerable sized Icelandic flag thrones. The carefully managed tourist trails took us around the crater and also down at the lake level, where we proceeding with another photoshoot. With this landscape is impossible to be a bad photographer!
Imagine the beauty of this place and the urge to take as much as you can with you, in pictures that Ed got half naked proving that he is a super pro model that works in every condition, I don´t know what people thought of this scene. But Camila really appreciated that someone finally gave her the picture she wanted for a personal series. (You go Ed! You show’em).