15.05.2016 53 °F
Today we started with breakfast at the hotel. It was very good - except for the scrambled eggs. I'm not sure what was going on there, but the flavor wasn't right. They had a nice spread of hot and cold options and a beautiful view. After breakfast we went to the valley of Gjáin - the Game of Thrones episode where Arya and the Hound were walking through the countryside was filmed there! On our way to the site we pulled off to take some pictures - it's so hard to not pull off at every turn.
If Tim hadn't done the research on Gjáin I would have thought we were going the wrong way. We turned off a paved road and onto a gravel road....and from there, through a lava field. What??? I'm glad we had a high-clearance vehicle and 4WD. It looks like you're driving through dead nothingness - even until you get there. Then you get out of the car and look down into the canyon and wonder how this beautiful landscape turned up in the middle of dead. We spent a lot of time at Gjáin. We hiked, took pictures, checked out the scenery and ate lunch in front of a waterfall. All in a days work.
On our way back we stopped at a resconstructed old farm, Stöng, from between 1100-1200 AD. It is estimated that Mount Hekla erupted for the first time in historical times on 1104 AD, completely devastating 20 settlements in the area, including this farm. The area was excavated and in 1974 Stöng was reconstructed. After a quick stop, we were back on the road with our "Cool American" Doritos.
Next up was Geysir. This geysir is the reason for the name "geysir". This was the first spot we've seen Iceland (for lack of a better phrase) "cash in" on tourism. There was a brand new building with three different restaurants and a gift shop. This is significant because most of the places we've visited didn't even have a garbage can. Strokkur, the only geysir that currently erupts, is definitely the main attraction - there were so many people there. Strokkur usually erupts every 10-15 minutes but was going off every 2-4 minutes while we were there. In other spots of the park there were some inactive geysers. Seismic activity can make them active again. Geysir, the original, goes long periods before erupting, at one point sitting dormant for 70 years. While we were at Geysir we had dinner at Geysir Glima, the restaurant on site. I have to say, we planned for expensive food here in Iceland but we underestimated the cost. Granted, this was a tourist spot so it was a little more expensive. Since breakfast is included with our hotel and we brown bagged lunch, it stings a little less, but FYI for anyone traveling to Iceland.
Also, can we talk about the paprika? It's on everything! I don't hate paprika but it's in the soup, it's sprinkled on sandwiches and pasta, it's a pringle flavor - it's everywhere! Also everywhere? Something we are lovingly referring to as IMT's (Icelandic Monster Trucks). We've seen so many converted trucks and SUVs with HUGE tires, lifted, and with snorkel exhausts. Guess it's necessary depending on what lava field you live in.
The last stop of the day was at Gulfoss. This is another area that Iceland is improving, in terms of tourism. There was a new cafe and gift shop, and they were in the process of building new steps. But enough about that, let's talk about Gulfoss! We've seen some amazing waterfalls and I can honestly say all of them are different and unique. Gulfoss is located on the Hvita river which is fed by Langjökull, the second biggest glacier in Iceland. It was very impressive and worth the trip. Bonus: we saw two rainbows!
After Gulfoss we called it an evening and went back to the hotel bar for drinks and a snack: cured salmon on toasted bread. We finished out the evening with a dip in the hot tub. Before we knew it, it was 10pm. The day really gets away from you when it stays light so late!
We can't wait to wake up and start our next day. Until tomorrow!