How to get the most out of your Iceland itinerary: part two

The next day in Iceland we booked a Golden Circle tour whilst we were in town because we were told this was the best way to see a lot of attractions in a short amount of time and we only had a weekend  As we were picked up from our hotel the next day, just as a it was getting light, those evasive Lights showed just the subtlest glow on the horizon and we held out hope that we'd get a good show that night

The scenery of this country is stunning but desolate all at the same time. It has black volcanic ash sands and looks almost like moonscape at times. 

But in between that there's glaciers, mountains and stunning snowy scenes that capture your heart at every turn. This photo was taken in Thingvellir National Park, where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart at a rate of a few centimetres per year.
I was super excited to touch both tectonic plates and the freezing cold walk added to the ethereal beauty of this place.

We threw a cent into the wishing well, which is the clearest water I think I've ever seen! Apparently divers get the best experience here because the under water worlds are full of caves and marine life and because it is so clear, they get a great view. However, you do have to deal with ridiconulously cold temperatures, so I decided to stay on land.

The next place on our Golden Circle tour was Guilfoss waterfalls which is mightily impressive but hard to reach on foot. When you get dropped off at the visitor centre here, you then need to make your way down a very icy, steep slope down to a viewing platform. Even with the sturdiest walking boots, people were slip sliding their way down the path clinging onto the rope for life. Just make sure you have good grip, that's all I'm saying.
There are viewing  platforms higher up which are not at all precarious to visit and give you some great views down. Well worth a visit and to spend some time here. I also bought a beautiful Icelandic woolen blanket with their native ponies adorning it.
Their horses are something they take great pride in as they are pure bred and hardy, especially to endure the climate here. As a horse lover it made me want one very badly.

Next on our list was to see some exploding craters of steam, or Geysers and there are so many of them to choose from you'll be spoilt for choice. From simmering, simpering little ones to big, bold, explosive ones that shoot up 60 feet into the air. Everyone wants the perfect photo but they are tricky to catch, therefore it's a good job it 'erupts' quite regularly, around every 10 minutes or so. So have a few practices and then prepare for the money shot!
We then visited a huge (largely) inactive volcano that over time had filled with water and which was iced over when we visited. Walking the outside of this enormous natural phenomena was very humbling and a little scary. It was used in recent years to host a giant concert where Bjork, a famous singer from Iceland, floated across it on a barge performing to thousands of revelers. How awesome must that have been?!

We stopped off for refreshments and saw one of the 'hidden people' from Icelandic folklore...
The tour is about 10000ISK or around 45-50 GBP and I organised it through these people. The tour guides were friendly and informative, even teaching us to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull (AY-uh-fyat-luh-YOE-kuutl (-uh)), the famous volcano that erupted in 2010.

We made our way back to the hotel with a couple more stop offs, including a green energy plant, which fuels over 90% of Icelandic homes with clean, renewable energy sources. This is a million miles from other countries efforts so far.

We were also lucky that during our stay, the Airwaves Music Festival happened to be on, with Iceland famous for world class dance DJ's and folk artists. It was at the time that Monsters and Men were just getting out and we were lucky to see the lead singer perform in a small acoustic session at a local cafe. It was a bonus that we were entertained in small alpine bars by folk guitarists and some of the club nights were amazing, though we didn't really have time for much of that. If you fancy it this year it's taking place 2-4 November 16.
Of course, after all that walking, no trip to Iceland is complete without a little relaxing dip at the geothermal pool at the Blue Lagoon.
                                            Image result for bluelagoon
On the way home, even the airport was feeling festive and had art to peruse. We flew with Iceland Air who offer some really good value packages from the UK, so sign up for news. 
I would definitely go back and with Rough Guides calling it the number one destination for 2016, now might be the right time. Maybe in the summer so I can see the midnight sun this time.

Are you a cold weather person or a sun lover? Do you think Iceland would be as magical in the summer?

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