day 4: the golden circle

ef aðeins vindur myndi snúa áður en ég fer heim, sagði konan róa gegn vindi. – “if only the wind would turn before i go home, said the woman rowing against the wind.”

– strokkur hot springs and geyser at sunset –

day 4 – 1 nov 2012: reykjavik

there was massive howling in reykjavik but they weren’t of wolves.

the headwinds that started tuesday on our trek over the solheimajokull glacier snout had been slowly gaining momentum over the next few days, maturing into a full blown gale.

but icelanders, we learnt, aren’t fazed. to them a gale would be classified as just a ‘passing wind’ and no, i don’t mean that kind of wind.

farts aside, the harsh winds blowing over the city that day certainly seemed to us to have semi-hurricane qualities but in this country, there was no mass panic, advisories or even breaking news on local TV.

nevertheless my travel companion and i ploughed on with our itinerary for the day which included day 2 of the airwaves festival and a golden circle tour. the horse-riding bit of this tour unfortunately was cancelled due to strong winds.

well, duh! good idea innit, since we wouldn’t want anyone being blown off together with the horsies now, would we?

so there we were on a warm bus, jaunting through Þingvellir national park. (don’t ask me to pronounce it)

first stop at unpronounceable national park was the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the mid-atlantic ridge. it is also home to thingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in iceland.  sounded like pretty exciting, geek girl stuff to me. ……until we got off the bus. :S

outside, winds lambasted us left, right and centre. off flew my hat, forever lost in the deep waters of the lake while trying real hard to get a few pictures of the rift…of anything, for that matter!

at this point, it would be a miracle if anyone of us could walk normally on the viewing bridge. a few more minutes of grappling with rails holding on to dear life, i decided i had had enough of atlantic whiplash and opted to sit out the rest of this stopover back in the bus. damn murphy’s law!

hatless and much bedraggled thereafter, our bus then heads towards the famous gullfoss waterfalls.

‘nice!’ i thought, ‘another chance for atlantic butt-whooping at yet another open area. screw it! can’t fight the forces! let’s do this!’ i continued. i vowed if i was going to go down, gullfoss would be the perfect place to take the plunge. unfortunately, despite my bravado, the winds had begun to die down a tad at that point. ok, so it wasn’t my time but it did make the gullfoss stopover a little more pleasant and productive than the previous one.

– gullfoss –

final stopovers included the hot springs hotspot, strokkur and the kerið volcano crater.  really gorgeous places where i capped the whole trip off with some decent pictures, if i say so myself but at the cost of a cool hat and head….


*the golden circle is a popular tour in s.iceland that runs most of the year.

highlights of this tour include:

  • Þingvellir national park
  • gullfoss waterfall
  • geysir hot spring area
  • skálholt church
  • kerið volcano crater
  • geothermal powerplant, hellisheidavirkjun

you can book and pay for these tours online before your arrival or book them when you’re there. lots of tour operators in the country conduct this tour and the biggest, most popular, cost-effective one is offered by gray line iceland excursions. the tour is called AH12 the golden circle classic and it costs 9,500ISK per adult. it comes with a complimentary pick-up from your hotel too.

other tour operators plying this route include:

all the above also includes complimentary pick-ups from your hotel/hostel. ‘

if you are still unsure about which tour to book prior to your arrival, you can always make inquiries with the helpful and friendly staff at your hotel/hostel reception desk. they will be able to suggest the best tours for you based on your budget, schedule and other special needs.


2 responses to “day 4: the golden circle

  1. Hi! Just wanted to ask how the weather was in October? We’re doing a tour of the golden circle this year and are unsure of what to pack. Thanks!

    • Hi Christina! First of all, congratulations on your trip to Iceland. You will love it. 😀 Going in October isn’t that bad at all. We went in late October so by that time the weather was pretty unpredictable. We had gales, snow laden days and sunny ones as well. I’d say if you’re doing any glacier hiking to bring North Face/Columbia jackets and water-proof hiking pants. If the winds prevail, you need full winter clothes touring Reykjavik and the Golden Circle. So bring your thermals, sweaters, ‘woollies’ and boots. But definitely a water proof gear as well coz it will get rainy going into early November, Hope that helps?

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