After the first days in Reykjavic and the sighting of the northern lights, I was able to use the first weekend since my arrival and experience the vastness of Iceland first hand. I was lucky to join Anki and Selina, who rented a car for their one-week-trip. That was low-key perfect for me because I could not afford renting a car and paying for the fuel all by myself. Since I am not going to leave any time soon, I am grateful for any opportunity to join a group and share the costs.
First Stop: Golden circle
The Golden Circle starts approximately 45 minutes after leaving the capital which is an advertised route of 330 kilometers with a pure travel time of four hours. It is said to be one of the most famous routes of the country where full parking lots and crowds of people are no rarity. But again a “crowd” here would be considered a small amount of people in other contexts; you will not get claustrophobic here, believe me!
Even though we were rarely able to enjoy the scenic view with all three of us, it was the perfect start into the first “real adventure”. I was hooked on the far views over various seas, the continuously changing light caused by the different weather conditions and colorful landscapes that an Iceland in fall had to offer. I know that there probably is no perfect season to visit Iceland, for each and every one of them has their own charm.
Finally, one waterfall after the other
Ever since I have been to New Zealand, I discovered a new passion of mine : waterfalls. Back in the days, were there was no Google maps, I tried to locate the waterfall symbol on the map and drove there. Even though I had no expectations, they were exceeded every single time. That is the reason why I did not inform myself about the different kinds in Iceland and tried to ignore all the amazing pictures that wanted to catch my eye. Because of the volcanic landscapes and the never ending mountain ranges, waterfalls have found their paradise.
Especially during the seasons where the sun rises in the early morning hour, it really pays off to make the effort and be at your chosen destination before the sun comes up. This is a clever way to see many of the attractions before the crowds roll in. That way, we were lucky when we arrived at ‘Gullfoss’ early in the morning, since the foul weather seemed to motivate most of the tourists to sleep in.
So many things to discover
I noticed pretty quickly that there can be a surprise waiting for you behind every corner. It is nearly impossible to reach your destination straight away. You would discover endless fields filled with Iceland horses, see more rainbows in a day than you have seen in the past ten years and wonder at the mountainscapes which have been marked by ancient lava streams on your way. Most of the time, we would call for Anki to stop the car and let us experience the moment shortly outside the vehicle. The need to stop and exit the car was so unbearable, it almost hurt.
If only all our problems were like these..!
At some other spot, Anki discovered a sea destined to chill at. Why ? Because someone left an armchair, table, TV, lamp, mailbox, beer and even shoes right next to it. Isn’t it amazing what can be found if you allow yourself to look beneath the plastered path? I guess you find a lot of things you were definitely not expecting.
The first hot “pod”
The circle saved one big feature until the end of the trip : After an hour long hike, which was fascinating and impressive but kept reminding us through the rain that we were still in Iceland, a hot pod would await us in the valley called ‘Klambragilslaug’ ; and we were very keen to jump in. Ideally, the rain only caught us on our way there so we could relax in the hot spring and end the trip in harmony whilst surrounded by mountains and green landscapes. I need to highly recommend the hike to ‘Klambragilslaug’, even though, unfortunately, we were not alone in the warm water, but fear not, we will find a lonesome spring for sure.