On arrival in Iceland we went straight to the well-known thermal Blue Lagoon. To be honest, I wasn’t that inspired, but that soon changed as soon as my toes touched the wonderful warm water. We swam to the mud baskets to put the silica mud on our faces and then swam around exploring where the hot spots were. My husband disappeared for a Sauna and a Steam Bath but my daughter and I were quite happy slowly swimming around the bright blue lake and basking in the sun and warm water. We stayed a good couple of hours there before we carried onto Reykjavik. The only concern was that my hair turned positively frizzy after the experience – something to do with the Silica I think!
The next day we self-drove up to Hotel Budir which is on the West Coast of Iceland. Whilst the drive was quite long at about 2 ½ hours it was beautiful with the sea on one side of you and the ever-changing landscape of volcanic fields on the other. To be honest it took us quite a lot longer as I kept insisting upon stopping to take photos. I studied Geography at University so I was on the best field trip ever!
Hotel Budir is without doubt one of my favourite hotels in the world. There is a very special peaceful atmosphere there, the people that run it are delightful, and the restaurant food is divine! But it is the beautiful location that is so special; the hotel is perched right on the edge of the sea, with the stunning mountains of the Snaefellsnes peninsula in front, and dramatic lava fields and extinct volcanoes behind. It is the ultimate peaceful stay.
We spent the next day wandering along a trail to a nearby volcano. A picnic lunch surrounded by the jagged lava fields and total silence was quite surreal.
Whilst Hiking and Snowmobiling trips are available on the glacier at the top of Snaefellsjokull our daughter was too young so we had to give it a miss. However many have written about its grandeur including Jules Verne in the novel “Journey to the centre of the Earth”, and it is considered one of the most beautiful mountains in Iceland. However she was not too young to go on the whale watching trip the next day. What a great morning. A whole pod of Orcas around the boat and a Humpback Whale fluking in the distance – all with the backdrop of stunning snow tipped mountains.
There’s so much more that can be done up there in the area including many boat trips and riding on the famous Icelandic Horses on the beach, but our time was limited and we returned to Reykjavik in order to do the Golden Circle the next day.
This was great fun. I’ve always wanted to see the Strokkur Geyser. My father has talked about it from when he visited years ago, and it did not disappoint as it shot up, and we managed to press the button on the camera late every time! Thank goodness sport buttons are now available on cameras to capture the image!
Gullfoss is a truly dramatic waterfall with a tremendous amount of water gushing over, and of course we got soaked walking around and above it. Finally Thingvellir is a beautiful location. The Geographer in me was again excited to be walking through a mini rift valley! I always thought I had to go to Africa for that! Whilst the Icelanders are very proud of its heritage as the first democratic parliament in the world, for me it was the dramatic and stark beauty of the landscape that captured my imagination.
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