Iceland Does Not Disappoint.
Iceland. We finally made it. Two years later after a pandemic pause and a few other assorted road blocks, we landed at about 6 AM and set off with private guide Dofri Hermannsson for our first adventure of the trip. Iceland did not disappoint.
Since we would not be checking into our Reykjavik hotel until later in the day, we headed for the famous Golden Circle with its three iconic destinations: Pingvellir National Park, Geysir, and Gullfoss Falls.
We beat the crowds with our early arrival at Pingvellir (Thingvellir in English) National Park, the site of the Viking Chiefs’ General Assembly dating from 930. Its striking geological features are a result of being on the Atlantic Ridge where the North American and European continental plates meet. The dramatic results were also why it was selected as the location for many scenes from the Game of Thrones.
During the 4th season of The Games of Thrones, characters made their way through this part of the Oxararfoss Trail through a rough, narrow passage to reach The Bloody Gate. The Gate itself was an added effect at the end of the passage. We really had to watch our footing as we carefully navigated the steep, rocky trail.
Dofri kept us entertained and educated us about Iceland’s history, language, and lore, sharing sagas and interesting facts along with way. He was quick to pick up on my fascination with Game of Thrones sites as well as my husband’s interest in volcanoes and geology. At one point, Dofri led me across a rocky stream and moss-covered field to Porufoss waterfall, the site where the dragon grabbed a sheep and torched the rest of the flock, also in season 4.
Strokkur Geysir was fun to watch and erupted about every five minutes, which was a good thing since I missed filming it the first time. The original Geysir (for which we get the word geyser) is no longer very active, but the geothermal area with its hot springs, bubbling pools, and steam plums was impressive and surreal. A cloudy, misty day only enhanced the overall ambiance.
It was an amazing introduction to this magnificent country and we have lots of tips to check out in the days ahead. We topped off our site visits with a stop to see Kerio Crater, formed 6,500 years ago and a part of Iceland’s Western Volcanic Zone.
Pictures do not begin to do Iceland justice. Day 1 was incredible.