Day 1: The Golden Circle
We spent the first 3 days of our trip in Iceland, a Nordic island country above the Arctic Circle, home to about 300,000 people. The island has an incredibly unique landscape, as the island is both volcanically and geologically active. The people speak Icelandic, a variation of Scandinavian language from Old Norse. Iceland has only recently become a popular tourism destination, especially for the United States as it is only a 5-hour flight from Boston. It is surprisingly not as expensive as we thought, and I recommend it for a long weekend trip to anyone who wants to feel like they've set foot on another planet.
As for Day 1, we traveled the Golden Circle, a popular tourist route that loops from Reykjavik, the main city, through the main geothermal features on the island. It takes approximately 3 hours to drive the entire path. Here is my journal entry for this day:
Today has been the longest day. Since we flew at 7 PM EST, and the 4 hour ahead time difference, Sunday and Monday have just blended together. You can sleep on the plane, but you have to be awake to get your luggage and car rental.
We arrived at Keflavik airport in Iceland at 4:30 AM, and the sun was bright and shiny. It was very, very windy, and very cold. One of my first thoughts was that I should have brought gloves. It took us about 4 hours to get our bearings, to figure out where we were and how to get where we wanted to go. Our rental car seems pretty great - "we don't care about minor dents or scratches, obviously" the clerk said to us. But I'm not sure I like being the passenger with Andy driving a standard. We've so far only had a problem finding compressed gas for our igniter. Still looking, but not starving. We made it to Reykjavik, the capital, about 45 minutes from the airport. Then we started on the Golden Circle. But, before we really started we had to pull over for a nap. After an hour or so, we made our way through Þingvellir National Park, to Strokkur (the oldest Geysir known), The Gulfoss Waterfalls, and then toward our destination for the night: Vík.
We saw so many horses, sheep, and Chevy Sparks. I'm really glad we made the stopover in Iceland - it really is unique. On our way to Vík, the beach town on the Southern coast's tip, we stopped at Seljalandfoss, a huge waterfall visible from the road. There's a footpath looping around the back of it, and you can stand behind the falls so long as you don't mind getting soaked. We both went up, and the rainbow was a nice touch for Day 1. We got to Vík, though exhausted, and set up camp to sleep - finally!