Postcards from Iceland – 3 (golden circle)

Time to get on the road. My favourite part.

Driving in Iceland is easy, the roads are not super wide, admittedly, but the traffic is not bad at all and the roads are well kept. In the next two weeks we’ll be driving all around the island anticlockwise and today we were heading to a whistle stop tour of the famous Golden Circle…

But first… drum roll… how about a snorkelling session between two tectonics plates? Silfra is a fissure created by the drifting apart of the North American and the Eurasian plates… the water of the Silfra river comes from a glacier 30km away and takes 100 years to get here and pour into the lake. It’s magically clear, tastes amazing… and it is unbelievably cold, a barely above freezing 2C (35F).

Donning a dry suit is no mean feat in itself, and then you have the pleasure of plunging yourself in a freezer. The gloves let water in so you’re best forgetting you even have hands (although if you snorkel holding them behind your back (and out of the water) it’s just about ok… but it’s the face… oh boy… before it gets completely numb (and I mean NUMB) it’s like a giant brain-freeze attack (if you know, you know), like a vice squeezing your skull…

But it’s totally worth it. It’s beautiful down there…

The fissure you swim through is part of Thingvellier National Park, the site where the Icelandic parliament, the oldest elected parliament in the world, used to meet from the 10th to the 18th century.

We didn’t have the time to walk around too much unfortunately…

Back in the car towards Geysir, a site of big geothermal activity:

Fascinating stuff.

Strokkur is, arguably, the country’s most famous hot spring, shooting vast jets of boiling water from 20 metres (65 feet) up to 40 metres (130 feet) high every five to ten minutes. We were there for ages, it really feels like magic.

After this, more water… from cold to hot to sheer volume of the stuff: Gullfoss waterfall. A big one.

Majestic and powerful and a little terrifying too.

I wish we had the time to do a proper hike around the area. It is so beautiful. And we totally lucked out with the weather… We had sun and blue sky all day.

So beautiful that at times you just need to stop the car and take a photo…

… or two…

wouldn’t you agree?

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