The loop comes full circle...
Trip Start Aug 30, 2007
15Trip End Sep 30, 2007
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It's our last day with the rental car today. We pull a marathon tourist day, driving about 5 hrs to get to what is called 'The Golden Circle". It's the area that most tourists to Iceland visit. It's not far out of Reykjavik and there are some beautiful sights...At first I was skeptical since it's the most publicized area to tour, but in actuality the sights are quite amazing. After some more back country roads (still trying to find that elusive 'short cut'), we get to Pingvallavatn, the site of the old Parliament...it's where lots of history took place, like should the Pagans turn to Christianity?, for example... There's a beautiful lake there (the vatn part of the name) - again right along the fault line so it's a hot spot, and as always, a gorgeous waterfall, and -my favorite - another geothermal plant, Nesjavellir.. We drive up amidst all the spewing steam and mineral rich waters and even though it's late Friday afternoon, I'm hoping to get a tour. But it turns out there's an unruly group of middle-schoolers there so the guide is busy. She asks us to take OURSELVES on a tour around the plant. Remember what I said about access? How security is just not as pervasive around here. Here is this power plant that provides energy for most of the people in the country and we're strolling around on our own
So after Pingvallavatn, we cruise over to Geysir and Gulfoss. I've included some video clips I took with my camera so you can feel like you were there. I could watch Geysir erupt over and over again and not get bored. In fact I've played this video for myself probably a bit excessively. Actually it's the geyser Strokka - Geysir doesn't erupt as often so Strokka is the star of this show. Every 4 minutes or so. It rumbles and gurgles just like your stomach does when you're nauseous... getting more expressive as the minutes pass until suddenly - big belch, it all comes up, way in the air and we all feel better....I can actually feel it in my stomach...very visceral experience. And once again, you can get right on top of the thing. No security measures separating you from the action. Same is true with Gulfoss. It's this magnificent waterfall that has two sets of falls
Before heading to Reykjavik, we stop at this place called Solheimar. This, Sue M., is your social experiment playing as reality. It's an intentional eco-community of about 100 or so with half the residents being mentally or physically challenged. It's a very beautiful community- the houses are nestled in more vegetation than I've seen anywhere else in the countryside. There are all the facilities one might desire for a high quality life - a well equipped art studio, a gym, greenhouse, hot tub/pool and a big glassed in dining building. There are even some huge xylophones made of tree trunks hanging in the yard which are irresistible, so we don't. I think I need some in my own backyard
We're back in Reykjavik at the end of a week or so of looping around the country. I feel like I've gotten a really good feel for this place, I've been to the key places - except for Snaefellsnes, got to get there - just need a sunny day with no wind...simple but not always easy to come by in this land.