Day 4, Iceland

Today we leave our cozy hotel deep in farm countryside of Iceland and head off to the big city of Reykjavik. The morning was glorious, however clouds and rain are on their way so we got a fairly early start.

Pastoral Shot from my breakfast table of horses grazing in front of Katla mountain. With a glacial cap, this active volcanic mountain poses a real threat.

While Dan was checking out of the hotel he had an interesting conversation with the owner. When asking about Hekla and did they feel danger living in its shadow, she said their bigger worry is Katla, which is capped by a glacier. As we learned yesterday, if that one blows they could be in for a jokulhlaur! ( there, second time I’ve used that term… one more and it’s mine!). Anyway, she also said that many women here are named Hekla or Katla… interestingly, males are often named after glaciers!!! Fire and Ice!

Hekla, taken only a few kilometers from our hotel. I can see why the owners may feel a little threatened!

We headed out following the recommended route through the golden circle. Our first stop was an area full of venting steam. Many of the homes used this source of energy. There were hiking and riding trails through this area, but with many stops before our final destination we opted to move on… but not before a couple of shots!

Lots of venting from underground steam. Iceland is virtually 100% renewable energy between hydro electric and geothermal. It’s certainly explains why they are leapfrogging the world in EV’s!


Our next stop was Kerid, a huge crater thought originally to have been a volcanic blow out, but with lack of evidence of ash it seems like it was created with a collapse of rock into a stream of molten lava running beneath.

Zoom in to see the pathway to the bottom. This crater is HUGE!

From there we visited Geysir. This now inactive geyser would shoot 100 metres into the air. While the warm pool still exists it is now Stokkur that puts on a show every 10-15 minutes. At 15-20 metres, it is still pretty impressive!

Water naturally boiling to the surface! Warned not to touch… Water is between 80 – 100C!
Site of Geyser. The thermal spout that gave the world the word for thermal spouts! This one is inactive but once reached heights of over 100 m!
Just catching Geyser’s neighbour Stokkur strutting its stuff! At a mere 15-20 metres, this is clearly Geyser’s little cousin!

From Geyser, we went a short way along the road to one of the largest (volume wise) waterfalls in Iceland. Yes we have indeed seen lots of waterfalls on this trip, but that’s one of the things that Iceland is famous for. This is Gulfoss and it is impressive indeed!

Facing the first step drop of the falls
Looking downstream from that step. The canyon reminded me of something from the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories

From Gulfoss, we back tracked a bit and then headed towards Thingvellir National Park. This park is a Unesco World Heritage site and sits on the Continental divide (tectonic plate) between North America and Europe. These continents are tearing away from each other at a rate of 1 – 18mm per year. The plain that dominates this park is scarred with fissures throughout, but the most impressive area is the great rift at Almannagia.

Dan and I actually walked along this boardwalk in between 2 continents!
The river Oxara cuts the western plate and tumbles off it’s edge dramatically at Oxararfoss

This area housed Iceland’s oldest court. Once a year the Alpingi (law court) would have it’s elected speaker recite the laws, and people from around the country were brought to justice.

Outlook from Law Rock. The pool below was used to drown women convicted of infanticide, adultery or other serious crimes. Men simply got ostracized for up to three years. If they were caught back in their area, the family of the victims had the right to put them to death.

Dan and I then had a lovely stop at the visitor’s centre which houses an small but truly amazing interpretive centre. It overlooks Lake Thingvellir which is a large glacial spring fed lake, home to many species of Arctic Char. A true thing of beauty!

Lake Thingvellir

It was now time to head into Reykjavik. A city of some 140,000 people it is the home to about a third of Iceland’s population. Our home for the night is the Guesthouse Galtafell. Located near the city centre and within easy walking distance of downtown. We could simply park the car for the night and wander.

And wander we did to a lovely seafood restaurant called Messin. Oh my, what a wonderful place. Dan had the Cod Tongues, and I had the pan fried Cod… both were absolutely incredible!

Dan’s sizzling pan of Cod Tongues…spicy, buttery ( have I told you how wonderful the Icelandic butter is???)
My pan fried Cod in a delicious lime pepper cream sauce…divine!
Topping off the day with a Viking Lager! What a meal!

After dinner we decided to do some more exploring of the downtown and maybe taste some of this Icelandic Ice Cream we have heard so much about. Needless to say, the calories we expended on this walk were rapidly replenished!

Our walk even took us by the iconic Lutheran church in downtown Reykjavik …the tallest structure in the city standing at about 75M. This church can be seen from up to 20Km away!

Hallgrimskirkja. Look at the columns on either side, designed to reflect volcanic basalt columns. In front of teh church is a statue of Viking Leif Ericsson.

It was starting to get dark, and with plenty of walking under our belts for the day, it was time to get back to the hotel and put our feet up…oh yes, and pack for our flight to London tomorrow afternoon. We’ll have the morning to explore the downtown some, and then off to the airport! Until tomorrow….

Categories: Hiking in Iceland and the UK


  1. When we visited (2016) we spent the bulk of our time in the north (around Akureyri). Delighted to see your pics of places we missed. Iceland is Enchanting!




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