Scandinavia08 – Day 3: The Golden Circle

Highlight: The seafood dinner at Sægreifinn (Sea Baron). Ben and I shared 4 fish and vegetable kabobs. The salmon was fantastic, and the potatoes, red onions, and peppers melted in your mouth.
Lowlight: The repeat stops on the bus tour and the tour guide that was hard to understand. She frequently burst into song – serenading us with Icelandic folk songs, which was amusing, but I didn’t learn as much on this bus tour as I did on yesterday’s.
Fun Fact: Þingvellir was the site of the original Icelandic Parliament, dating back to 930. It was where all the tribes would meet to discuss common rules. During parliament, all vendettas were suspended, so no one was allowed to kill each other.
Money spent: 15591 ISK ($202 CAD)
Ben Frustration Index(BFI): 0.

I slept much better last night. I’m getting used to the time change, the hostel was emptier and quieter last night, and I switched to a bottom bunk which shielded me from the sunshine.

Today we did another long bus tour, this time the Golden Circle tour. It’s the basic, must-see tour of Iceland that covers the 3 big sights – Gullfoss, Geysir, and Thingvellir. This tour wasn’t as good as the one yesterday. The sights were all spectacular, but we were a large group being shepherded from sight to sight, which is kind of annoying. Our tour guide had a thick Icelandic accent and often says things backward so that she sounds like Yoda.

As for the sights, the pictures below tell most of the story.
Gullfoss – spectacular waterfalls.
Geysir – not actually spouting, but Strokkur, which is right next to it, goes off every 5 minutes. Everyone would stand around with their cameras pointed at the hole in the ground, visible twitching every time the water would bubble. And then suddenly it pool would swell and the water would erupt out. It was actually enthralling to watch, so much so I stayed to watch it 3 times – that’s 15 minutes of mostly staring intently at the ground, but it was worth it.
Thingvellir – least impressive sight. It has historical significance as the sight of the original parliament meetings, but it’s really just a big rift between two tectonic plates. There are some need gorges in the ground, but that’s all there really is to see. The plates are only separating at 3 cm/year, so it’s not terribly exciting to watch.

Geysir is the most developed tourist sight. There’s a 2 restaurants, a gift shop, 2 museums, and some interactive displays. Ben and I met an Aussie and American and toured most of the displays together. I didn’t get their names though.

We had our best dinner of the trip so far at Sægreifinn (Sea Baron), an eclectic little seafood shop on the wharf. It’s supposedly famous for its lobster soup, but Ben and I only tried the seafood kabobs. They even had minke whale kabobs, but we avoided those.

We went to a cosy little coffee shop called Babalu after dinner for dessert. The waitress was amusing – she had this nervous and awkward, but perky and cheerful manner about her that made it difficult to stop smiling whenever she came by.

We managed to stay up past midnight planning the rest of our trip. When we were ready to go to bed it was still light out, even though the sun had set. It’s so disorienting.

Kerið  Gullfoss Waterfall  Gullfoss Plunge  Gullfoss and Flowers  No Hikers  Gullfoss and the Hvítá River  Tourists at Gullfoss  Gullfoss - The Golden Falls  The Golden Falls  Bubble Forms  Eruption  Spray  Strokkur Geyser  Icelandic Briefs  Ben Sleeping  Creepy Cat  Stout Swine  Mischevious Mouse  Foxy Fox  Frosty Minks  Þingvellir  Chasm  Fish Kabobs  Radiant Heated Sidewalks  Rainbows  Dusk

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