Day 4 of Honeymoon in Iceland: Intrepid (maybe slightly timid) explorers.
We wake on day 4 with clear(ish) skies and a fridge full of food! Happy days.
We eat breakfast and decide today is a good day to go and do the ‘Golden Circle’. This consists of driving through a place called Thingvellir national park (where you can actually see the continental drift of the North American and Eurasian Tectonic plates, which is causing the earth to pull apart forming large fault lines/cracks – in summer you can walk between them but they’re currently full of snow) and then going on to see Geyser’s (the things that shoot water into the air, not Del Boys mates) and a huge waterfall called Gullfoss. We have been looking forward to this and can’t wait to set off.
We kit up in our layers and prepare ourselves for a day in temperatures that are sitting about -10’c (excluding windchill…)
And we are off! We leave the hotel and set off on our journey into the mountains. About 4 minutes after setting off, we hear a very loud clunking sound from the car. “What the hell is that?” I say to Chris. He doesn’t reply but looks concerned. Oh crap. We stop the car and pull away again. The noise is gone, hurrah! 2 seconds later, oh nope, spoke to soon, its back again but this time it’s louder. Fabulous. Chris pulls over again and i jump out and tell him to drive along slowly whilst i run next to the car so i can try to hear the noise from outside and see what it is. This doesnt go so well as the road is like an ice rink and I can’t run on it, so we admit defeat and turn the car around. We get back to the hotel and dread the prospect of asking the staff, yet again, for assistance. I’m sure they are a bit fed up with the ‘crazy english couple’ by now…
We ask for help and after some pondering, the staff decide it is just low pressure in the tyres so tell us to follow a chap who’s job seems to be clearing the snow with his tractor. He doesn’t speak a word of english but we are told to just follow him to his house down the road and he will fix it for us (and hope he isn’t some crazed axe murderer). Bearing in mind we have a half broken car, you’d think the chap would drive slowly for us so we can follow him…not likely! He sets off doing well over 100km/hr and we give up trying to keep up with him. Luckily the road is so straight we manage to keep tabs on him and find our way to his house/farm. He ushers us over to a barn where he pulls out a few bits of equipment. He has some dogs who come and investigate too and luckily they look more friendly than killing machine. He dutifully inflates the tyres, gives us a thumbs up and says something incomprehensible to us but we give him a thumbs up back and tell him thanks. Let’s hope a thumbs up isn’t the Icelandic equivalent of the middle finger back home… He smiles and ushers us off. Fingers crossed the car will now be ok for our trip into the mountains…
We set off 1.5hrs behind schedule. Bearing in mind there are only 5 hours of daylight here this is a slight problem as we will now have to come home in the dark. Not so good but we press on.
We have checked the road conditions on the government website and all the roads we need to use are now classed as ‘slippery’ or ‘wet snow’ rather than ‘impassable’ or ‘dangerous’. Good good.
We seem to be the only car out on the road. We drive for at least 25km without seeing anyone which is a bit disconcerting but i don’t see any abandoned cars (or frozen corpses) so i don’t feel as uneasy as i did the other day.
We arrive in Thingvellir national park and everything is white. All you can see is the yellow road marker posts to tell you where it’s ‘safe’ to drive. It’s hard to tell the land from the sky as it is all just a blanket of fluffy white snow and cloud. It is beautiful…but i am still anxious that we haven’t seen anyone for a while.
We decide to skip walking aroud the park as daylight is already fading and there is an immense amount of snow underfoot, so we press on to the Geysers. Driving up to them, we see a stream which is running next to the road. It has steam coming off it and is amazing to see with all the snow around it. We park up and are so pleased we have finally made it somewhere with other people about!
The Geysers are a slight to behold. It’s like something out of Jurassic Park (minus the dinosaurs unless you classify Chris as being old enough to be one). We wait patiently in the -10’c temperatures for the most reliable Geyser (called Strokkur) to go off. After waiting 5 minutes it goes and i’ve honestly never seen anything like it before. I have film of Chris giggling like a little school boy, his face all lit up like it’s christmas morning. Bless him, it was good fun.
We tear ourselves away and push on to the last attraction which is called Gullfoss. It’s an enormous double tierd waterfall. There is a little shop there and Chris decides to get with the natives (because his beanie hat just isn’t cutting it) and buy a winter hat which i think is called an aviator hat. It has ear flaps and is lined with rabbit fur. I can’t help but laugh at him as the ear flaps look like a couple of pubic hair pieces but he is toasty so thats all that matters right?! 😉
We spend a while gazing at the waterfall, which is partly frozen due to the temperatures, but begin to freeze ourselves so we decide to leave. Walking back to the car I see a group of nuns next to a yellow mini bus playing in the snow…a rather odd sight but the way this holiday has gone it now doesn’t seem that strange! We spend some time packing up and head on our way.
Driving back , the sun is setting and it really is picturesque. We stop to take a photo of the fault cracks and drive on. Then, we see a van with its hazard lights on at the side of the road and slow to check they are ok as we are in the middle of nowhere still. As we slow I see it’s the yellow mini bus from earlier. We look in their window as we drive past and I am greeted with the sight of a nuns bottom pushed up against the glass and a Roman Abramovich lookalike sitting behind the steering wheel smirking. I don’t know what they were doing, or why he was smiling, but we see they’re ok and drive off. This holiday is just getting weirder and weirder…
We amazingly arrive back to the lodge safe and sound, and we settle down to watch Senna on the laptop (if you haven’t seen it yet, do watch it. Its the best thing ive seen in a long time…apart from the nuns arse that is!) 😉