Thursday, April 25, 2013

Iceland part 3! The Golden Circle

We started out Day 3 on mimimal (about 4 hours) anyone seeing a pattern? We met with our tour guide in a "super jeep" which was more like an 8 passenger van with monster tires. We would need this super jeep to be able to drive onto a glacier...but I am getting ahead of myself. This tour was the "golden circle" tour which includes some of Iceland's most famous sites. First stop was Geysir. The Geyser that all geysers are named for. Neat!

Surrounding Geysir were lots of these hot springs. It was super steamy!

 We saw a few eruptions when we first walked up, but I had to adjust camera settings and then the geyser took it's sweet time. We stood and waited a good twenty minutes for a good eruption. I was getting a little annoyed that mother nature wasn't cooperating because we only had thirty minutes at the site....

And boom goes the dynamite.

 Our next stop,  Langjökull, Iceland’s second largest glacier. This was the highlight of the whole trip for me!!!  We drove onto a glacier in the super jeep. We might have been driving onto the moon! It was such a unique (and bumpy) experience. Riding in a jeep on a glacier is an experience in itself, but it is nothing compared to snowmobiling on a glacier!!!

The first thing we had to do was get suited up! I was already wearing ski pants, a sweater and my big puffy coat. Then I put on this sexy orange jump suit, gloves, a ski mask and a helmet (safety first)! The difference between Josh and I?? I make this look good!
Next we got the most ridiculous snowmobile tutorial. It was basically "here's the gas, here's the brake, and if you fall over, keep your legs inside or they will get crushed". And then, we were off!!

My view from the snowmobile!

It was so beautiful and bright!!! I wish I had brought sunglasses! Snowmobiling was way too much fun. We were going along at 40mph on a glacier! I had to remember to look around and take it all in because I was having so much fun!

We stopped after thirty minutes so that the people riding two to a snowmobile could switch and let the other person drive. I paid extra so I had the snowmobile all to myself!!!

Here is Josh doing his best to stay warm! Poor Josh thought his fingers were going to fall off!!! I was having too much fun to be cold!

Our next stop was the Gullfoss (golden) waterfall. This waterfall was really cool because you don't walk up to the base of it, but the top! (without a stupid scary hike)

 Water was spraying all over us!!!

See...picture proof that we was there!

We had a quick lunch of lamb stew and then headed off to the last destination, Þingvellir National Park. This park is the site of Iceland's first Parliament which was founded in 930AD. Blah blah...goverment...blah. The coolest thing about this site (to me, anyway) is that you can see The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Tectonic Plates!!! 

There is also a lake here with crystal clear water that brings in divers from all over the world...even in the winter....which is dumb

Standing in "the crack"

here you can see the two plates. You used to be able to walk on the ground between them, but they had an earthquake at the site a few years ago (surprise, surprise) and they had to build this walkway.

So at this point, we headed back to the hotel. After a little rest, we went back to the harbor in search of dinner. We had some fish and chips with homemade ginger ale.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel excited to get our first real night of sleep. Josh sampled a few local beers and I played around on Twitter. Well twitter was all abuzz (atweet?) with news of the Northern Lights. Apparently, this was to be the best light show of the year. I asked Josh if we could take another late night tour and he muttered something about a divorce. Finally, I talked him into a five minute walk down to the harbor at 9pm just to see if we could see anything. I wasn't that hopeful because our previous guides had told us you need to leave the city and all light pollution to be able to see the lights. was worth a try.

  I only took about 500 pictures of the lights that night. I kept playing with camera settings. At one point, some serious photographer was trying to tell me how to take pictures. "you need to set your exposure to 30 seconds". Well, that's all good and great if you have a tripod...instead, I sat on some rocks and tried my best to balance my camera.

 I'd say we did pretty good!!! 

The lights went from out in the harbor to out over the city! They were directly over our head at this point causing a slightly inebriated Josh to ask if we were about to die!!! After a solid 2 hours at the harbor (and I could have stayed later!!! It was hard to leave the lights behind) we walked (I skipped) back to the hotel! Keep in mind that all these pictures were taken from the incredibly bright harbor in Reykjavik! I can't imagine what the light show looked like in the pitch black!

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