The first day of the trip started already the day before. I took the train to the city of Mosonmagyaróvár, where my 3 other travel mates are living, a city close to the Austrian border. I spent the night at MZ’s house until 2 AM when we woke up and left for Vienna to catch our flight. We arrive on time at Keflavik Airport, picked up our car and were eager to get going. We planned to go to a supermarket to buy basic food, knowing that shops are few and far between in the country but all the big shops were closed till 11 AM… well, that left us buying bread and water at a gas station.
Our first stop was at Nesjavellir area, via road no. 435, a scenic route with huge tubes on the left side, carrying the heat from the geothermal power station, best seen from a nearby hill. Have to say even in this strong wind the smell of something like rotten eggs was striking! Next up, based on Zoli’s special request we visited a church called Ulfljotsvatnkirkja of which he took a great photo 2 years ago, but this time in the grey weather that we had it didn’t look any special. Here we had our first and luckily last major encounter with midges flying all over you. I was told that they are more common in the northeast, around Myvatn lake, but there we found none.
Thingvellir is one of the obligatory tourist places, for geographic and historic reasons, so we went there, it was nice but nothing else. I was a bit surprised how rich and green the vegetation was here, it was really unlike the rest of the country. It was here where it started drizzling and later raining with changing intensity. By the end of the day it was raining pretty hard, we knew that southeast Iceland gets a lot of rain, but still… Luckily my brand new shoe and raincoat resisted. Nonetheless I bought a cap as well.
|Nesjavellir geothermal powerplant|
|Thingvellir National Park|
Geysir is probably the most famous tourist sight of Iceland, of course we had a stop here. It was pretty active, I read it erupts every 8-10 minutes but when we were there it even did double eruptions within a minute or so. Despite the rain the whole area looked really cool with smoking ground and nice colors. Roads so far were really good but there was a section before Geysir where it was bumpy gravel, we were happy to have a jeep as smaller cars could only drive 30-40 km/h and we were fine overtaking them and drive 60 km/h. Our Terrano turned out to be a reliable old fellow even if 11 years could be felt all around and its 2.7 TDI engine was hardly a Ferrari even brand new.
Upon reaching Gulfoss the rain was probably the worse we had during 8 days. Nonetheless we made the walk down to the falls, protecting my camera with my raincoat but still it got pretty wet… didn’t want to risk it too much on the first day. To be honest we didn’t feel like doing any more sightseeing in this weather so we skipped Bruarhlod canyon and Kerid Crater Lake and drove to our accommodation, farmhouse Steinsholt in a pretty desolate place. We had dinner in a place similar to a culture house and went to bad at 10 in daylight brightness.
All in all the first day was a great appetizer but the weather let us down quite a bit. I would say the afternoon had the worst weather of the whole trip. We covered mostly what I think are obligatory tourist places in Iceland, all beautiful but not quite the most interesting ones for me.