After about 12 hours (of well needed) sleep we both woke up well before breakfast was to be served in the hotel so we headed off for a wander down to the front. The sun was bright and warm, but I very quickly regretted not grabbing my jacket, the wind off the ocean was freezing. A couple of locals out for a morning jog said hello as they passed while we did the tourist thing and took photos of nothing in particular.
At 7 the hotel lobby was packed with people waiting for breakfast, and we all poured into the bar when they opened. Eggs, sausages, coffee. Good way to start the day. We got our stuff together, checked memory cards, batteries, tripods and rough directions for interesting things.
Driving though presumably peak hour traffic in Reykjavik wasn’t too bad, and I managed to remember which stick did the indicator. The auto gearbox also meant there wasn’t any hit the door with left hand, change gear with right hand. I still spent too much time looking for the rear view mirror out the door, and was often distracted by cars and things in the right side of my vision only to look up and see the rear view mirror.
More than a few roundabouts (SO WRONG GOING THE WRONG WAY AROUND ROUNDABOUTS!) later we were on the tourist route heading north east, inland. There was quite a bit of rain. Every so often it would let up for a few moments, only to start again when we thought the clouds were parting.
We drove through a national park and missed the turnoff to Þingvellir, almost on purpose. Our first stop was Geysir. A series of hot sulphur-y springs and one large geyser. Thankfully there wasn’t any rain around, and we spent a while taking photos and video. There were a few people around, but a lot less than I thought would have been there. Looked like our quick getaway in the morning had kept us ahead of the crowds.
We set off again to our next stop, Gullfoss. There were a few more people there. Gullfoss is a large waterfall that is a bit different to other waterfalls. The river runs in a crevasse through the landscape, then for no apparent reason drops dramatically down again, deeper into the earth. It was windy and rainy. But we still got out our tripods and took some photos.
When a few busses of tourist pulled up we figured it was time to move on, and we drove back pass Geysir, which was now quite busy and stopped for some lunch. We took some different roads back towards Þingvellir, we didn’t get lost – just took the scenic route.
Þingvellir is a large area at the base of rift in the earth where the original Icelandic Parliament was first convened in 930. The parliament was held there until it was disbanded in 1799 (convened 45 years later in Reykjavik). Noted in the guide book was a special pool for drowning adulterous women, should the need arise. Dad also managed to find his first old church of the trip. Not quite Viking aged, but old enough.
An hour of so later and a bunch of roundabouts we were back at the hotel. We excitedly turned on our laptops to start going through our first photos from the trip. I imported all of mine into Lightroom and started going through them, only to have my laptop completely seize up on me. Rebooted. Tried again, only to have it crashed again before I could do anything at all. Odd. Another reboot and this …