The 2013 Elsmore grand tour - to the apartment and beyond!

Well, not that far beyond, we're still here :) 

If you're wondering where we are right now, it's here. A small apartment in a family home in Iceland. Perfect for some rest, relaxation and sightseeing. 

After leaving Reykjavik we did the usual grocery run (always interesting when you don't speak any Icelandic!) and arrived at the apartment. Then, promptly spent the evening and the next day chilling out, watching crappy movies and eating food. So we didn't spend all the time sighseeing - so sue us :) 

We did, on the other hand, get to see (very briefly) the Northern Lights from our hot tub. Strike two off the bucket list! 

Yesterday, though, was a long day as we chose to do the Golden Circle

IMG_1147

The Golden Circle is a route taking you through three of Icelands'  best (and most accessible) natural assets. First up for us was Þingvellir National Park (pronounced 'thing-vell-ir', sort of). It's the original seat of the Icelandic parliament in 930AD located in a beautiful rift valley. Lots of details here if you want them. Thankfully at this time of year, the tourist quotient is fairly low. As you can see from the pictures, it's neither sunny or snowy but to be honest that doesn't really make any difference to us - we're used to it! What was quite funny though, was watching other tourists take so many pictures of the countryside. Mountains, heather, sheep.. that's all very familiar to us! Quiet is good though:

Þingvellir National Park

After the national park, we carried on to Geysir. No prizes for guessing what we saw there! Geysir is actually home to the original Geysir - the one that they were named after. The Geysir geysir is dormant now though, only coming to like after earthquakes. Stokkur though, is very much still active:

Geysir

As proven by the group of Japanese tourists who suddenly realised why no-one else was standing on that side of the geysir. Much merriment was had as it's quite a large one...

Geysir

New camera with 8 frames per second, FTW but I digress....  

Geysir was fab too. Not too large a site and again, not crowded even though it's regularly visited by super jeep tours (think the large red North pole jeep that Top Gear had. There are many of those here, many, many of those!). It also has a rather large gift shop run by the company also known as Geysir. Kitty is a happy bunny now, rather literally!

The final stop on the Golden Circle tour is the waterfall, Gullfoss. This one is a biggie - you can just about see some people in the top left...

 

Gullfoss

Thankfully you can get alot closer, which of course we did. Cue again much photo taking, which we are loving. Now that Kitty and I both have decent cameras, we decided to really take advantage of them this time. It means I'm carrying a fairly hefty backpack, but it's really not that bad. And when else would we get such good subjects? The only real problem is editing them on an 11" screen! 

 

The three main sights down, it was time to head home. There was just time to see a volcanic crater; 

Kerið Crater

but I'm afraid by this point we were pretty much done and ready for dinner. The only down side... the 90 minute drive back home in the dark across lava fields. Somewhere where you really, really, really don't want to have an accident! 

 

And so, we're home again in the apartment. We're two days left in Iceland - we fly onwards tomorrow afternoon. So at some point we'll be fitting in the Blue Lagoon and... some other stuff. Not sure what yet, I think I may join Kitty in the hot tub to try to decide :)