The journey so far:
30 days on the road:
2730 miles by land, about 1000 miles by sea,
Days without any rain 7
Nights camping 24 Nights in hotels 3 Nights at sea 3
Countries visited 7
Days driven out of our tent by the weather 1
Miles driven by Janet 0 (big wuss alert)
Some other thoughts about the Blue Lagoon. It is often cited as very expensive and ‘there are places just as good, just up the road’. This may be true but it certainly smelled a whole lot nicer than the one we looked at in the north. From the outside it looks a bit like an industrial complex; this is not particularly surprising as the water supplied to the Blue Lagoon is waste water from the main geothermal power station for Reykjavik. Like a lot of places in Iceland, it is way more exotic on the inside. Whatever you might feel about swimming in power station waste water, I can tell you that it was fabulous. What can be better than a cold drink in a lovely hot bath? The geek in me was also fascinated by the way that the minerals in the water had precipitated over the volcanic rock had produced a delightfully smooth surface. A day later, my skin felt fantastically smooth and I do feel more free.
We saw a really nice thing just as we were leaving- one of the petals from the London 2012 Olympics had ended up in a glass case at the Blue Lagoon. It was beautiful and we were thrilled to be able to get so close to one of them.
As to the rest of the area around Reykjavik, I felt conflicted. It is very lovely, and if you only have a bit of time in Iceland, then, yeh!!! you have seen Iceland in the raw. Unfortunately, we did not feel very excited about ‘Iceland Light”, and if you want to come here, please don’t skimp on the time, because the rest of the country is so much more…… awesome (in the old-fashioned sense of inspiring awe, honest).
Enough pontificating and on to the only big whinge of the trip so far. I really hated the campsite in Reykjavik; It was full, it was busy, it was full of noisy young people (old codger comment number 6- I am entitled, as I am retired), we were not allowed to put Camel next to the Tentipi, which really messed up our set up. Yep, we have gone for comfort, which goes pear-shaped when we have to lug our stuff over too long a distance, and if it rains; can we cope without the Discovery awning? Nooooo! Luckily the rain stayed away and we sat there glaring at all the other campers who disobeyed the rules about putting the car next to your tent. Damn, it is very annoying to be British sometimes.
It was quite cheap in the Reykjavik campsite, considering that we were within a mile and a half of the city centre, but after all the lovely places we had camped in up to then, it was a real shock to the system. If you happen to be not an old codger, I suspect it would be a great fun place to stay. There are endless, annoyingly gorgeous and fun young people all over the place, all having a great time, in a very good value fashion. Meh! Ok, we had a nice time talking to some Germans and a local on his bike, who was probably the warden.
I would be ashamed to admit that we didn’t actually go into the city if we hadn’t decided that we wanted to come here when we fly to Canada next summer. The cheapest flights come via Iceland and it costs peanuts to stay in Reykjavik for a couple of days.
So we finally found our way out of the city and onto Geyser via a beautiful lake called Pingvallavatn.
It was a lovely spot, but what caught our attention was one of the viewing spots. It was a really cool space where people have started piling stones. That sounds nothingish, until you see them. Some look impossible. Some are tiny. Some are obviously done with love. You can watch all sorts of people building their piles. There are small children doing their best. There are annoying American brats bossing their dads about (‘I want THAT big stone NOW!!!!). I put a few little stones on top of some lesser creations and Tim did his bit.
Geyser is the original water spout that has given its name to all the other big water spouts and annoyingly talkative blokes. Apparently the original no longer spouts because people used to chuck turf and rocks into it to make it go and it is now a hot water puddle. Luckily for the local tourist trade, the next spout (Stroffur) took up the job and it now spouts every three to six minutes. It was worth the wait in so many ways; the geyser is amazing.
However, it is also quite good fun to watch people watching the wrong way to take selfies (why would you come all this way here to NOT actually watch one of the most amazing sights in nature) or even more fun, if you are a touch into schadenfreud, stand at a reasonable distance and wait for the wind to change and watch the close spectators who are trying to take selfies scatter.
We camped in a brand new campsite between the beauty spots of Geyser and Gullfoss which is going to be amazing. It already has a bar with pizza available and the cheapest beer in Iceland (apparently), 6(!) loos, the best views I have seen in any camps and the fun of watching them gathering in the hay in nearby farms. The bossman is very excited about his venture, apparently the lovely field we were camping in was a hayfield last year. The only downside is that the shower is not quite ready so you have to promise not to splash on the unfinished flooring. It is called Skjol and will be fantastic in the near future, when the hedges grow a little to provide shelter and all of the facilities are complete.
On Tuesday, after a very blustery night, (but we didn’t fly away and the Tentipi coped well) we went to look at Gullfoss, another fabulous waterfall. It gets a bit more attention than some of the others, due to being in the Golden Circle, accessible from Reykjavik. Getting there early meant we could beat the hoards and could just stand and wonder.
After that we drove on a 4 x 4 only track that took us up past Lake Sandvatn very close to Langjökull, the local glacier. You can glimpse it from our campsite, but we managed to get a much better view.
The track there was quite challenging and involved some basic fording, I suspect it gets much harder when the local rivers are really flowing.
We got to near the end of the track and I decided to get out, as it looked a bit dodgy to me. Tim gave it a shot, and nearly did it, the new tyres were really helping, but the ground was too loose with so much extra weight in Camel, so we walked instead. When we got there a couple of Germans rolled up in their Defender and cooly brewed up some coffee. The other thing that put us in our place was passing a couple of cyclists who had been camping near the end of the track.