TRRRRRRRR TRRRRRRRRRRR…… and the alarm sounded sharp at 6AM. Making way to the gym on a cold morning was clearly not my idea of a holiday morning. I GRUMP and get out of bed to fetch my gym wear. After an hour of sweating it out, happy me looks forward to a hearty warm breakfast –avocadoes and eggs on a warm slice of bread (yummmmm). The hotel staff at ALDA were courteous to offer us a sandwich each for the road.
Rajat completes the car formalities while I wear my hood and traverse to the nearby harbour about 200 mts away from the Enterprise Rental Car office. Shortly after, we load our luggage, log in to the wi-fi system,plug on the audio and zip zap zoom to our first stop on the Golden Circle route namely Pingvellir National Park.
Pingvellir -which translates directly to ‘the fields of parliament’ is where major decisions were taken in Iceland. This UNESCO World Heritage site has America on one side and Europe on its other side. Iceland is divided by the Mid-Atlantic Rift; some parts of it, such as the Westfjords and Reykjavík, are on the North American tectonic plate, while others, such as Vatnajökull glacier and the East Fjords, are on the Eurasian plate. Iceland is the only place in the world where this rift is above sea-level, and nowhere can you see the edges of both plates as clearly as in Pingvellir.
Pingvellier is famous for its ravines and the only one it ispermitted to snorkel or dive in is Silfra.The visibility of the water within it exceeds a hundred metres, allowingvisitors to immerse themselves in a world of magical blue light, and witnessincredible geology beneath the surface. Do google about this interesting siteat leisure and amaze yourself.
Don’t forget to click some images with the Icelandic horses and do stop at the Eftsidalur ice cream farm to tantalise your taste buds.
Haukadalur Valley boasts of a plethora of hot springs and geysers, including the powerful Strokkur,Smiður and Litli-Strokkur.Strokkur (Geyser) is, arguably, the country’s most famous hot spring, shooting vast jets of boiling water from 20 metres (65feet) up to 40 metres (130 feet) high. Don’t worry about missing this incredible spectacle of nature, as Strokkur erupts every five to ten minutes;just make sure to have your camera ready.Due to underground plumbing system ground water meets hot bedrock and heats up, building pressure. When the water has reached peak temperature and pressure it sprouts out from the geyser. The pungent smell of rotten eggs and the yellow stained rock bed makes it an unforgettable experience.
If you think we have had enough for day 2, sorry to disappoint you. Next up is the mighty Gulfoss.
Gullfoss is more than just a pretty waterfall, it has a story to tell. In the early 20th century foreign investors wanted to harness the power of Gullfoss to produce electricity. In 1907 Howells, an Englishman wanted to buy Gullfoss from Tómas Tómasson, a farmer who owned Gullfoss at this time.Tómas declined Howells´ offer to buy the waterfall but later he leased it to him. The farmer´s daughter, Sigriður Tómasdóttir who grew up on his father´s sheep farm sought the rental contract voided. Sigriður using her own saving hired a lawyer in Reykjavik to defend her case. The trial lasted years andSigriður went several times barefoot on traitorous terrain to Reykjavik to follow up on her case. She even threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if the construction would begin. Her attempts failed in court but before any damage was done to the waterfall the contract was disposed due to the lack of payments of the rent fee. The struggles of Sigriður to preserve the waterfall brought to people´s attention the importance of preserving nature and therefore she is often called Iceland´s first environmentalist.
Excited for more? Sure, next up is the Kerio, a volcanic crater displaying its crystal-clear water. The lake itself is fairly shallow (7–14 metres, depending on rainfall and other factors), but due to minerals from the soil, is an opaque and strikingly vivid aquamarine.
Hungry? Yes, I am. We checked into the beautiful Stracta Hotel and had a warm delicious meal after soaking ourselves warm in their outdoor private bath tubs.
What an exciting start to an amazing holiday! Nevertheless,stay tuned for day 3 and mesmerize yourself.
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See you, happiness and sunshine
P.S: Out trip was planned by Iceland Unlimited and I will highly recommend them to you.