We had booked a Golden Circle tour from the front desk the night before. I had to wake Helen up as she slept through her alarm. A shuttle got us from the hostel and picked up other people from hotels along the way. They took us to a petrol station and transferred us to a bigger coach with other people on it. We had a tour guide waiting on this one.
We drove for about an hour to get to Þinvellir. The view on the way was incredible, it was a lot snowier that it had been previously. The tour guide explained the history of Reykjavik, which was actually discovered by the Irish slaves of the first Viking settler in Iceland. The sun was coming up on the way, which was bright orange and looked incredible against the snow. At one point we ran into really thick fog and it was pure white wherever you looked, the tour guide chose this point to tell us the myths about the trolls, the hidden people, and the ‘yule lads’.
The sunrise was still happening when we got to a very snowy Þinvellir. I had already seen it, but it was especially beautiful in the new light and with the snow and all the information we had learned on the bus. We were amazed by the lack of health and safety measures, we took a walk down ‘the crack’ and took some pictures from the viewing platform.
When we left it was about a 40 minute drive to the geyser. It’s never hard driving around in Iceland when the views are always so incredible. We learned about the summer houses people in Reykjavik have out in the country. When we got to the geyser we had some time to eat lunch. We walked out first to wait for the geyser to go up. The sun was still low and bright orange, which looked amazing coming through the geothermal steam. The geyser went off and we were prepared, but didn’t film it. We ate our sandwiches and bought more snacks and coffee inside, including an Icelandic donut thing.
It wasn’t a long drive to Gulfoss waterfalls. There was another raven flying around, which Helen appreciated as much as me. It was awesome to see it in proper light. It was icy so we kept away from the sides but we still got some amazing pictures. Helen’s camera was much better than mine so we got some great pics to send to people back home. There was one guy waling around with his toddler on his shoulders which freaked us out a bit.
It was getting dark when we got to our final stop, which was a volcanic crater (they think). That was the most unsafe place, there was a 1ft rope fence on the edge of this massive drop into a crater with a frozen lake at the bottom and a decking covered in ice (which people stepped on). It was a short picture stop there before we got on the bus back to Reykjavik.
It was around an hour’s drive back to Reykjavik. We learned more about Iceland on the way, like how every town and village has a swimming pool. We were the last stop in Reykjavik and we were both pretty tired by this point. I went for a nap in preparation for my 7am flight but I didn’t fall asleep in the end. I came out about an hour later and had more bread and cheese with Helen.
We chatted for a while and then I tried to go for another nap but once again I didn’t manage to. Some people from New Zealand were talking away in the room. I gave up and decided to stay up for my flight. I bumped into Shamak and he invited us over to come and talk with other people.
We spent the rest of the night sat round the table by the window. There was a German girl and a French guy I hadn’t met before and Helen joined us. Dina, the German girl, did a really bad British accent that she insisted was totally accurate, and me and Helen showed them scouse and geordie accents. I was desperate for some booze but the bar closed after a while so I tried to walk to the petrol station. The wind was really high and there had been rain so the ice was extremely unsafe. I had to shuffle most of the way. It felt like an Arctic expedition despite the fact it was only up the road, and when I got there they weren’t even selling any alcohol. I was devastated. Helen went to bed not long after I got back.
The other German girl, Marlene, joined us and Dina showed us ‘Dinner for One’ on youtube, a sub-par British slapstick sketch from the fifties that is apparently an incredibly popular holiday tradition in Germany. She couldn’t believe I had never seen it. We then got to talking about hostel creeps. Both Dina and Marlene had guys who had attempted to get into their beds for ‘a cuddle’. Shamak was disgusted but this young Polish guy who joined us didn’t seem fazed so we told him never to try it. Marlene showed us this love letter a Mexican guy had left in her bag after they had like one conversation.
Before long my airport shuttle bus arrived and I wished goodbye and Merry Christmas to my fellow hostel guests. Keflavik airport was a lot easier to get through and given the time of day, extremely quiet. The flight was only about two hours long, I had a bottle of duty-free whisky and snoozed the whole way. When I woke up I got some beautiful views of the sunrise over the Scottish mountains. I arrived with no trouble, in time for a relaxing day out.