Well, the Northern Lights tour was moderately successful. Several factors come into play, beyond just being north enough: the brightness of the moon, solar activity during the previous 24 hours, light pollution and how cloudy or clear the sky is. We drove around and stopped several times and saw them faintly. Actually the brightest viewing was a flare of it while people were boarding the bus! I didn’t catch it but Brian did.
Another popular day tour here is the Golden Circle route, which we went on the day before yesterday. Reykjavik Excursions offers it for 8900ISK including hotel transfer. The three main stops are Gulfoss (Golden Falls), Geysir and Pingvellir, all located fairly close to each other once you get a little inland outside of Reykjavik.
Gulfoss is called the Golden Falls for a reason. The sheer size of it is stunning! The area was covered in snow and ice; some parts of the falls had actually frozen over (the wind chill is shocking!).
We stopped for lunch at the tourist stop just outside of Geysir, the geyser that gives its name to all other geysers (or so the guide repeatedly said). Geysir itself erupts with boiling water every 5-10 minutes, sometimes it’s impressive and other times it’s not. Surrounding Geysir are other geysers and boiling mud pots, though those weren’t visible from the trail. There is a multimedia center at the tourist stop– one of the displays is this thing you can stand on and it mimics the earthquake caused by a major volcanic eruption a couple decades ago (5.1 on the Richter scale).
Last main stop for the day was Pingvellir, the place where you can actually see the crack between the Eurasian and North American Plates. There was so much snow there though, that I couldn’t see where I was walking! At one point my foot fell into a smaller crack up to the top of my boot between the two plates! You can hike down a bit between the plates in some areas. Up top, there is a spectacular view of the adjacent lake. This is where political gatherings used to take place back in the 900’s, due to its accessibility.
I’d have to say that my favorite of the three was Pingvellir. The landscape around it is beautiful (as is the other landscape during the drive), the view is amazing, and seeing the meeting place of these gargantuan pieces of the moving Earth blows my mind!
We’re going 4×4’ing around some volcanoes in a bit!