Day 5 in Iceland

This was going to be our last road trip of our vacation.  I decided we needed to go to another geothermal bath.  I knew I had read about one so I located it and marked our route on the map.  This time I didn’t have to find back roads because that is what you had to take to get there.  I packed us a lunch and had in may mind this nice private place to enjoy our last soak.

we took about a two hour drive down gravel roads some of which are called F roads, which weren’t as bad as some we have driven down in Alaska, not sure what the F stands for.  You can imagine though we did have fun with it.  We were saying things like I will drive down any F-ing road I want.  We finally reached Fjallabak Nature Reserve where the hot bath is supposed to be that we are going to.  Off we go to drive down another F-ing road.

Fjallabak Nature Reserve was established in 1979. The Nature reserve is 47.000 hectares and is over 500 meters above sea level. The land is mountainous, sculptured by volcanoes and geothermal activity, covered by lavas, sands, rivers and lakes.

https://www.nat.is/travelguideeng/fjallabak_nature_reserve.htm

 

 

I have to say that on our road trip so far we had only a couple of cars that passed us.  Then we hit the top of a hill and around the corner there were several other cars stopped to take photos.  We did the same and while we were there even more cars came and stopped.  I am starting to thing these people had the same idea I had about getting away from the people and having a nice soak.

 

We made it too Landmannalaugar in the Highland.  I was in for a big surprise when we got there.  The place was packed.  There were cars and buses all over the place.  I was thinking it was a whole river that you could use but it was just a small spot where the hot water mixes with the cold.

Landmannalaugar (the people’s pools) is a geothermal paradise, replete with rainbow-colored rhyolite mountains and bubbling hot springs, where wispy plumes of steam rise off the volcanically heated waters. It has been a resting place for travelers for many centuries and Icelandic people have traditionally used it as a stop off point when they cross the highlands, which is where its name originates from.

https://www.extremeiceland.is/en/destinations/landmannalaugar

This makes it sound so romantic.  I wouldn’t call it that because to get the warm water you have to be in the area where the river runs into the small pond. This is the point that everyone gathers.  It was a beautiful setting though.

When we got there the first thing I had to do was hit the toilet.  It was becoming urgent.  We got to the bathroom and we saw a sign that you have to get a day pass to use it.  After paying our 500 Krona or $4.68 and getting our wrist bands I could have some relief.  We enjoyed our picnic lunch outside at a picnic table, a first for us because we had been eating on the road.  You could eat inside a clear plastic, covered area.  We then noticed that if you wanted to shower after your soak you had to get a ticket to scan which was another 500 Krona.  We decided we were going to go for that too, so our free soak cost us a total of 1000 Krona or $9.36.  We changed and headed for the bath down the wooden walkway.

At the end of the walkway was a platform where you can leave your things while in the pool. Some of the people were changing out there, so if you want to save the 1000Krona you can do without the toilet and shower.  We climbed down the few stairs to the water which was very clear, cold and had a gravel bottom. If you have tender feet like David you may want to wear water shoes.  The water was about thigh deep.  it is just a short walk to the where the warm water flows into the cold pool.   We sat amongst the people who were from many different countries.  We enjoyed listening to the many languages.  As people leave you move closer to where the hot water pours into the cold.  You can feel when the heat comes up from the ground because the stream will get hotter.  I have to admit that the scenery is beautiful.  This is not one of our favorite hot baths but it was unique and well worth going to.

Landmannalaugar (the people’s pools) is a geothermal paradise, replete with rainbow-colored rhyolite mountains and bubbling hot springs, where wispy plumes of steam rise off the volcanically heated waters. It has been a resting place for travelers for many centuries and Icelandic people have traditionally used it as a stop off point when they cross the highlands, which is where its name originates from.nt countries.  It was fun listening to all the different languages. As people leave you move closer to the hot stream.  We enjoyed it but we would not call it the best one we had ever been too.  It was the cheapest though.

 

There were  some beautiful flowers and some cute little birds in the creeks.

After our shower we headed home a different way.  The way we came home was quicker but I could see why they recommend a 4X4.  There were a couple of water crossings but nothing bad.  I do imagine that in the spring it can get really bad.  I now see why there are so many trucks with the big tires on them now.  They must spend time in the highlands.

 

It started raining on us again on the way home.  We got up in the clouds as we climbed over the mountains back to civilization.  We stopped in Selfoss to get to get some supper and headed back to the apartment to call it a night.

 

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Day 2 Golden Circle and Brewery

Well we started off today turning right and heading out in the right direction.  We got a lot earlier start today.  The fog was really bad most of the way out.  We couldn’t see any of the scenery it was so bad.  We made it to the Geysers a little before 10.  David wasn’t that impressed by it.  I think it was better last time I was there, maybe because it was winter.

A favorite stop along the Golden Circle is the highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. The newly opened Geysir Center offers exhibits and informative presentations year round. Geysir Hot Spring Area is one of the most popular tourist stops in Iceland.
The geothermal field is believed to have a surface area of approximately 3 km². Most of the springs are aligned along a 100m wide strip of land running in the same direction as the tectonic lines in the area, from south to southwest. The strip is 500m long and culminates near what once was the seat of the lords of Haukadalur.
The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. Although the geyser is less active these days, it did lend its name to hot springs all over the world. It was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans.

We found this tractor inside the visitor center and store.  I had to take a picture of it for Fred and Dan, my son in law.  They both like the old tractors.

 

After grabbing an ice cream cone, which I had been wanting for days, we headed off to the Gullfoss Waterfall.  When we arrived there was the best tourist bus I had ever seen.

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Gullfoss (“Golden Falls”) is a waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland.
Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. The wide Hvítá river rushes southward, and about a kilometre above the falls it turns sharply to the right and flows down into a wide curved three-step “staircase” and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11 metres or 36 feet, and 21 metres or 69 feet) into a crevice 32 metres (105 ft) deep. The crevice, about 20 metres (66 ft) wide and 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) in length, extends perpendicular to the flow of the river. The average amount of water running down the waterfall is 140 cubic metres (4,900 cu ft) per second in the summer and 80 cubic metres (2,800 cu ft) per second in the winter. The highest flood measured was 2,000 cubic metres (71,000 cu ft) per second.
As one first approaches the falls, the edge is obscured from view, so that it appears that the river simply vanishes into the earth.
During the first half of the 20th century and some years into the late 20th century, there was much speculation about using Gullfoss to generate electricity. During this period, the waterfall was rented indirectly by its owners, Tómas Tómasson and Halldór Halldórsson, to foreign investors. However, the investors’ attempts were unsuccessful, partly due to lack of money. The waterfall was later sold to the state of Iceland, and is now protected.
Sigríður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson, was determined to preserve the waterfall’s condition and even threatened to throw herself down it. Although it is widely believed, the very popular story that Sigríður saved the waterfall from exploitation is untrue. A stone memorial to Sigriður, located above the falls, depicts her profile.

The weather was rainy today, so the photos do not do the Gullfoss justice.  David says it is world class.IMG_1018

 

After we got all the shots we wanted at Gullfoss we headed to Fontana Geothermal Baths for a nice soak.  I have been to the Blue Lagoon before but I found this one a lot more relaxing and cheaper.  David and I both enjoyed the couple hours we spent there. We came out refreshed and relaxed.

Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths is located in the center of the most popular tourist route in Iceland, the Golden Circle.

A unique experience of the healing powers of the geothermal springs, one may soak in a natural pool, listen to the bubbling hot spring in the steam rooms, or for the venturesome, take a dip in the refreshing lake.

https://www.fontana.is/

I went in to shower and was having a hell of a time trying to get my swimsuit top off.  I was fighting and fighting with it thinking why can’t David be in here to help me.  I was beginning to think I was going to be stuck in it when it finally decided to let me go.  Finally, washed and dress in my street close I was ready to leave.

 

Next we headed towards the Olvisholt Brewery.

 

There was no sign on the road we had to turn on but we headed down what we were hoping was the right road.  We were looking for a Old Dairy Farm.  That was a joke because that was all there was out there.  Our luck was with us because lo and behold we came up to a driveway with Olvisholt on it.  There was only one car there.  We parked up and a guy walked up to us.  He said, “Can I help you?” I replied, “We are looking for beer.”  He told us that he had just closed but he would serve us a beer if we didn’t mind sitting in the tap room by ourselves because he had just got a load of barrels in he had to deal with.  We told him no problem. We got a flight of the 7 beers he had on tap.  We were very impressed with the beer.  Alysnn who we met at Skuli the night before showed up and Steinn gave us all a tour of the brewery.  There are only 3 people that work here, so they stay pretty busy.

OUR Journey
Ölvisholt Brewery is a microbrewery located at an old dairy farm in south Iceland, near Selfoss. It was founded in the year 2007 by two neighboring farmers who had a true passion for beer. This passion is the not-so-secret ingredient in all the beers Ölvisholt brews today.
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​An old barn was re-purposed to house the small brewery and this is where our skillful brewmaster conjures up some of the best beers Iceland has ever produced. Right from the start the aim was to produce beer of a quality that Iceland was not used to, thus starting the popular microbrewery trend that now is evident in Iceland. The popularity of the microbreweries makes sure that everyone at Ölvisholt keeps pushing themselves to the highest standards of quality and entrepreneurship.

You can find our beers in all premium bars in Iceland and Vinbudin, the government run liquor store. In addition our beers are exported to USA and Sweden with more countries lined up to experience our beers in the months to come.

 

After spending time with some great people we headed back to the apartment.  I was falling asleep and my feet were really hurting, so after a nice nap David went to get us a pizza for supper.  I have such a wonderful husband!