Sunday, 10 June 2012

Amazing Iceland - The Pearl Tour

Monday 19th March we went on the 'Pearl Tour', which included a superjeep guided tour of the Golden Circle and one hour of snowmobiling. We drove out of Reykjavik and did the snowmobiling first. We were supposed to go on a glacier, but unfortunately the weather was $h1t, so we ended up going in a field, which meant we would save about 2 hours over the length of the tour - a good thing really. First we had to dress up all sexy like in a jumpsuit and helmet.

Yep, this jumpsuit is very flattering
The grey skies while Claire was driving
Claire had a go at driving first - it was snowing and it was windy. In about 2 seconds my face was frozen! Painful!! I had to keep wiping the visa on my helmet to get rid of the snow that was collecting on it, so I could see. After half an hour we had a break and then swapped divers. Of course during the break the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day. That meant I only had to contend with a bit of wind - much easier to see :) Snowmobiling was a bit like jetskiing. When we got back to the superjeep, the guides all took as one at a time of a short FAST ride. Now that was FUN, and even more like jetskiing.

The sky when I was driving...
We got out of our jumpsuits, and found out my food had gotten wet, and was very cold :(. We continued on and stopped at Thingvalavatn (├×ingvallavatn in Icelandic), the largest natural lake in Iceland, and the first stop we visited in Thingvellir National Park. In 930 the national parliament of Iceland was founded on the northern shore at Thingvellir.

Around the lake you can really see the fissures and gullies that are caused by the junction of the American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Silfra Fissure is filled with glacial water that has been filtered through the lava fields and is 50-100 years old by the time it reaches the fissure. Because of this it is absolutely clear, with visibility up to and over 100m. The water is also very pure and it is one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, providing diving between 2 continents (But more on that later).

Silfra Fissure

Gulfoss, not looking so Golden at the moment
After stopping to have a look at the crystal clear water of Silfra Fissure we continued on to Gulfoss, which means 'Golden Waterfall'. At this stage the weather had turned bad again, and it was pelting down with snow... Now I know you don't usually describe snow as pelting, but the wind was blowing so hard that the snow was actually 'falling' horizontally, and it HURT. Soo much so that we didn't spend that much time admiring the waterfall. We sought shelter in the tourist shop, where we had lunch. Of course as soon as we got in it stopped snowing! Lunch was a yummy Iceland lamb soup, which was delicious and went down a treat after being so cold. As soon as we started to get back in the jeep it started snowing again :S

Next we went to see the Geysir geothermal area. Here you will find the original Geysir, one of only a few Icelandic words borrowed by English. Every now and again the Geysir will have a double, or even triple eruption. I caught the first of a double eruption on video, but stopped filming too soon :( We watched the Geysir blow a few times and then continued on to a volcanic crater that is now filled with water. We also stopped to feed the Iceland horses. They are a very hardy breed, and are unique in that they have 5 instead of 3 gaits. We fed them breadrolls, which according to Sven, our guide, they are like lollies to the horses, but because they were young Sven had to do a bit of coaxing to them to come over to the fence so we could actually feed them. We then headed back to our hostel and went off to find some food...

The crater.. apparently Bjork has preformed a concert
on a boat in there

Coaxing the horses over

Here they come

Ok, I admit, they are kinda cute

Back in Reykjavik... the women have weird
fashion over here?!