On our Golden Circle tour, we made an unscheduled stop on the side of the road at one of the many free range horse farms! Thank goodness someone else in our group requested strongly that we do this because it ended up being my fave part of the whole tour. Iceland has a huuuuge amount of these shaggy, sturdy horses and in turn, there’s a big horseback riding and rental business here. While we didn’t do that, we did just get to go up to these beauties and pet the heck out of them. I’ve never seen such friendly, furry horses! We also learned from the tour guide that all of Iceland’s current livestock descended from a continuous line of the original Viking animals brought over from Norway. The Icelandic breeds are pure in themselves because they have never mingled with breeds from other countries. That’s amazing.
From my look of utter delight, this petting session brought unfiltered joy to my animal-loving heart. Our tour group braved high winds, rain and cold temperatures to go on the Golden Circle tour. Worth it, of course, but I was almost blown away on the Parliament lava fields. Check out the black lava rock gravel path against the stunning backdrop of snow mountains. Dayum, Iceland!
I was so proud of myself for not dying on this hike. I huffed and puffed through a 6-mile hike on mountainous, muddy, snowy terrain…in WEDGES! I was thinking that if I died during this process, my body would be easily distinguishable from others by being so fabulous. To all the non-believers, I did it and I didn’t die. My boots are almost ruined but I was not.
And…this is the whole reason for that aforementioned 6-mile hike. Hot springs, son! Many of the girls (myself included) wore our swimsuits so it was just a matter of stripping down and plopping in the piping hot stream. Getting out was so awful because the wind nipped our cold wetness and changing clumsily amongst your whole tour group was humbling. Still worth it though. Hot springs are always worth it.
More hot spring realness. My two types of outfits in Iceland = winter fur coat and string bikinis. A land of contrasts!
Visited an earthquake exhibit where the tectonic plates divide. I’m in North America, now I’m in Europe!
Geyers are a type of hot spring except they blow out steam and water with exceptionally violent force. Many are dormant but some have a consistent timetable of when they erupt! Little Brother erupted every 5 minutes. He was the perfect tourist attraction.
We spent our last full day in Iceland exploring the capital city. I am standing atop the Perlan Dome, enjoying a marvelous panoramic view of the city. This scene reminds of me of the Swiss Alps. Architecture was pretty bland in Iceland. All buildings and houses looked like rectangular Monopoly parts and the interiors all resembled white-washed Ikeas.
Resting after another laborious 6-mile walk that day. Meet Clown Cat, the friendliest kitty ever. I sat down to rest at the Sculpture Garden and she came out of nowhere to greet me. She continued to roll around in the grass, rub against me and basically hung out for about 20 minutes. There was a sort of device on her neck so perhaps she wasn’t a stray.
Don’t be too shocked but I visit the Icelandic Phallus Museum. Yup, that’s a whale’s thingy, or dong, to be scientific. Fascinating.