My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

 

A friend of mine came to visit a couple weeks ago and he strongly expressed his desire to experience as much as possible of Iceland during his short stay. Although I was mighty busy with school work, translating Sagas and studying the transcription of XIVth century vellum manuscripts, I still accompanied him on one of trip, namely, and as the title of of this post indicates, the famous Golden Circle tour!

As we were lazy and didn’t wanted to wake up super early, we picked up the slightly shorter tour, namely the 6 hour long-tour with Reykjavik Excursions. The tour started at 13,00 in the city center and we quickly got off the city center while our guide, Svanur introduced everyone to the history of Iceland.

It took a little while to actually get out of the city but once we were out, just a little bit East of Mosfellsheiði, the beautiful landscape started to open. We stopped for five minutes at a Horse-Riding center where we picked up some people and said hello to some mighty cute horseties and then drove off all the way to Þingvellir.

Once there, we had the chance to behold the mighty sight of the Þingellavatn lake (it’s waaay bigger than what you’d guess) and got inside the canyon where the Assembly was held during the Viking Age. I had previously only been there at night so it was neat to see a place that is so full of history in broad daylight!  There weren’t that many people either so we had the opportunity to stroll down the canyon without much stress. Even the weather was good!

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

 

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

 

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

After about half an hour visit we got back in the bus and drove for about one hour along the fells. The landscape there was really appealing and there were quite many times when I just wished the bus would stop so that I may run atop the mountains that filled the Northern horizon.

Ultimately, we drove inside the Hawk-Valley (Haukadalur) and got higher up the mountains in order to reach the famous Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall). Last time I had been there, with my father in law and a group of his students, everything was deep-frozen. This time almost all the snow had molten and it wasn’t even that cold up there. We had about an hour at the waterfall so we first had some tasty Mutton soup and then went down the the actual waterfall. Because most of the snow and ice was gone, we had the possibility to get really close the actual range and the least I could say is that a double waterfall in the middle of the Icelandic mountainous highland is pretty damn worth it!

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

After that, we drove to Geysir (The Geyser) which is only a couple minutes away. There we were told that the management of the park had started collecting entrance fees while it had previously been free pass. Our guide was very critical of the whole thing and explained us how barely legal this movement had been, and even invited us to dodge the guards and not pay the entrance fee!

That’s pretty much what we did:

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

After that, we just went up next to the huge Geyser and waited a bit to see it burst. One little tip for those considering doing the same: The geyser erupts every couple minutes but is obviously stronger the longer it builds up. It is also quite hard tacking a good picture of it because it reacts so suddenly you will probably not have the time to click on your shutter-release button before it is all gone, the best is just to continuously press the shutter button until something actually comes up. If you do it right, you might be able to get some nice shots:

.My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

 

After seeing the geyser explode four times in a row, we dodged the guards again and entered the bus one more time. It was just about time to drive back to Reykjavík (via the South-bound route). On the way, Svanur kept telling us some fun facts about the history and the culture of Iceland and even had the stop at one little “Bonus” place, namely yet another beautiful waterfall (complete with a salmon escalator!) which laid next to a pretty huge horse coral:

My Take on the Golden Circle Tour

After that, we just drove straight back to Reykjavík and came back at about seven O’clock. Most people in the bus were quite tired and we were too! I guess that it was better then that we took this slightly shorter tour than the once that lasts over wight hours. In any cases, we had a real blast and I would not advice enough taking this tour if you want to efficiently experience all the places that lie on the way of the Golden Circle tour!

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