After our short stay in Reykjavík, we left our hotel in the early morning around 8 am but it felt like the middle of the night. There had been a storm and clouds were hanging around everywhere. But as we knew we had quite a ride in front of us we wanted to make sure to spend the sunrise at a nice spot (which I guess is everywhere in Iceland).
So we took road 1 (Ring road around the island) to the north as we wanted to visit Thingvellir National Park and it seemed like the only way to go. Thingvellir is the place to go to if you want to take a walk between the North-American and the Eurasian tectonic plates or if you want to see the clearest water on earth or the place where the Icelandic people met for hundreds of years. So it seemed like a good way to start.
When we left Reykjavík the rain turned into snow and in what felt like seconds, we were surrounded by a white landscape. We turned right and left road 1 and suddenly felt like turning into a different world.
The traffic was almost gone and so were signs of human life – until 10 minutes later as we found ourselves on a “closed route” sign. Which was pretty annoying as there aren’t so many streets and routes in Iceland leading you where you want to go.
We talked to the guy by the sign and he said it was just too stormy and there were too many snow banks. So we learned very quickly to always watch the road condition – this is the site you want to go to if you are hitting the road: http://www.road.is/
Another thing we also learned (later): You definitely should never ignore such a sign. If an Icelander says it’s closed, it definitely is closed. So we had to reschedule our plans and drove the Ring Road to the south. On our way we saw the sun rising in the most beautiful colours. During our whole trip the light has been really special.
It was so windy and icy it was hard not to fall down. It has been a real challenge to get close to these geysers and walk on this frozen surface. But as you do not pass by a hot water-spitting hole in the ground every day, we managed to get close on all fourth. And it was worth it. But it has been by far the most crowded place we saw in Iceland.
The most famous geyser is Strokkur – it erupts about every 10 minutes.
Our next stop came right afterwards: Gullfoss Waterfall (the Golden waterfall), which was really impressive. The ground had also been frozen so we had a hard time keeping ourselves upright. The stormy weather didn’t really help so it was quite an experience to experience this power of nature.
After we had to give up visiting Thingvellir National Park in the morning we wanted to give it another try after our stop at Gullfoss waterfall. Unfortunately, the next route was closed as well but we found a smaller one that was open. We drove about an hour in a breath-taking scenery with only seeing two cars on our way. However, the strong wind gave us a hard time keeping track.
We passed by a little lake and made a quick stop to visit the local elves.
We reached Thingvellir wondering why no one else was there. After leaving the car we knew why – it was impossible to stand up high without being swept off our feet by the storm. The frozen ground didn’t help either. Blowing in the wind was an understatement. We really tried but had to give up in the end. Disappointed we made our way back to our accommodation for the night.
We arrived in the dark at Hotel Anna where we surprisingly had a nice meal before we headed to bed (we read so many bad things about the food in Iceland – that’s so not true). The sky had cleared by then and the stars were shining brightly. We went to bed excited about what wonders of nature we would see the next day.