The first full day of the trip started with a mess. We had bought some wine at the airport’s duty free shop (cheapest prices in Iceland), and Tim stored a few in his bag together with all his clothing for the trip. On the way to pick up the camper, the bus took a turn too fast and the bag slammed up against the wall, and the smell of red wine was immediately evident. Fortunately most of the stains came out of the clothes, though I think his yellow sweater has seen better days.
The early part of the day was spent stocking up the camper and getting to know the controls. We stopped by the local grocery store, a chain called ‘Bonus’ with a cartoon pig symbol, and bought the first few days worth of food. The fridge took a few hours to cool before we could confirm it was working, and the WiFi in the camper was spotty from the start, but overall things seemed straightforward. The beds were comfortable, and I spent quite a bit of time there since Tim graciously took on all the driving duties.
Now to the sights. The first stop was the Blue Lagoon, a famous bathing spot in Iceland…but we didn’t realize you needed to pre-book tickets and we decided against the predicted two-hour wait time.
Next up was the golden circle, the top tourist region in Iceland. I can’t recall ever seeing geysers before, and the main one here, Strokkur, was amazing. The reason why it’s one of the most famous geysers in Iceland is the frequency and reliability of eruption…every 5-10 minutes without fail. The steam from the geysers and other hot spots produced a very cool misty atmosphere that looked fantasy-like in pictures, and this more than made up for the putrid, sulfur-like smell of the area.
The first time we saw Strokkur erupt was embarrassing, as we were initially surprised by the magnitude and height of the eruption and ran like idiots thinking we’d get burned or something. I eventually got my composure enough to film a couple explosive videos.
Before heading to the next attraction we stopped for dinner at the restaurant nearby the geyser park. Sometimes it was good to eat out as you could also concurrently charge your electronics on a free outlet. This was more than just a place to inject life into my laptop battery, however, as they had the best bread I’ve had in recent memory. I usually don’t take pictures of something so mundane as bread, but this was warmed to the perfect temperature, spiced with some unknown but wonderful herbs, and served with homemade oil and pesto that was divine.
After this near-religious experience with bread, we drove to the nearby waterfall, Gullfoss. I love waterfalls, and this one was a beauty…tiered so it appeared to be flowing down steps until its final plunge into the canyon, which was hard to see unless viewing from really close. There were a few viewing points for great pictures, and you could walk about halfway around the side of the waterfall for different perspectives.
The sound of Gullfoss was so dramatic and relaxing we decided to spend the night camped out next to it. We stayed up late playing a Belgian card game and enjoying some local Icelandic beer, and were greeted in the morning with one final view of Gullfoss…what a thing to wake up to!