A Rocky Start Turns Unforgettable — Day 3 in Reykjavik

Today was the day I was looking forward to the most during my time in Reykjavik. I booked an excursion to tour the Golden Circle and to snorkel the Silfra Fissure (which I was really, really looking forward to). Needless to say, the day didn’t start as planned. Here’s a timeline of how it all went down.

9:30 — 10 a.m. — Scheduled pick up at hotel, per the tour company.

10:15 a.m. — Waiting, waiting. No tour bus in sight. I started to get a little nervous thinking that I had the wrong time and missed the tour altogether. The owner of the guesthouse I was staying at (Guesthouse Odinn, which I highly recommend) was kind enough to call the tour company and see what was going on. They assured him that they were on their way.

10:30 a.m. — Still no bus. What the hell. I emailed the tour company to see what’s up with the delay. They emailed me right back and said they’re on their way right now to get me.

10:45 a.m. — FINALLY, the bus arrives and we’re ready to go. Everyone’s been picked up. I’m greeted by a happy-go-lucky Brit named, let’s just call him “Buddy,” who apologizes profusely for the delay. Apparently, there was a major snafu with the tour log and he picked up the wrong passengers then was driving the wrong bus which caused the hold up. Whatever, here we go.

11:00 a.m. — We’re not even past Reykjavik city limits and we get pulled over by one of 13 Icelandic police officers (I’ve only seen two the entire time I’ve been here). The bus had a broken taillight, thus the blue lights of doom start flashing behind us. All the a-hole tourists, who are mostly from the U.S. (go figure), are digitally documenting poor Buddy’s misfortune (clearly, including myself). I’m pretty sure it was a coping mechanism so we all didn’t lose our minds over yet another delay.

11:12 a.m. — It turns out that Buddy forgot to bring his Icelandic taxi license and therefore couldn’t legally drive our bus. Good times! He calls another driver to take over. Poor Buddy. He’s sure having a shit day.

11:30 a.m. — New driver walks in (literally, he walked to meet the bus) and saves us from all being deported and keeps Buddy from going to tour bus violator jail. AND OFF WE WENT!

Stop #1 — The geothermal area, Haukadalur

Haukadalur contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. The whole area is covered with thermal pools that let out boiling hot water and steam. It was pretty cool to see water randomly bubbling up from the ground. Also, we were able to see Geysir erupt a few times. Here are a few videos that I shot below on my iPhone:

I climbed all the way to the top of this cliff for a better view (Chad — you would have been proud of me!!) Man, were my legs on fire.

Stop #2 — Gullfoss Waterfall

I have to admit, I wasn’t overly excited to go to a waterfall being that we live 45 minutes from the most famous one in the world. But, it was very pretty and far different from Niagara Falls. Almost like it’s NF’s nordic cousin. While I don’t think the waterfall was nearly as powerful as NF, the surrounding scenery was far superior, hands down.

Stop #3 — Silfra Fissure

As I was reading more about snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure early in my Iceland research, I knew this was something that I HAD to do if I ever made it there. The pessimistic side of me often sees stunning photos online and wonders if they’ve been Photoshopped or are nothing like they are in person.

This was absolutely NOT the case with the Silfra Fissure and it turned out to completely blow all of my expectations out of the water (pun intended). My GoPro turned out to be an amazing investment for this one excursion but it doesn’t even come close to capturing the beauty that we saw during our 1 hour snorkel. I’ll just let the video and photos speak for themselves (and these are raw images — no enhancements at all!)

Yea. Damn. So if you ever go to Iceland, put this down as a must-do!

Stop #4 — Þingvellir National Park

The snorkeling was impossible to top but this was a nice stop for some pretty scenery. Everyone was pretty cold and ready to go home but I’m glad we were able to see this site of primitive Icelandic Parliament.

Whew, what a day! It was nice to get back to the hotel and grab a hot bowl of bouillabaisse on my last night in Reykjavik.

And Buddy survived his day from hell. I hope he went home, had a good cry and a few Brennivíns (a clear, unsweetened schnapps made in Iceland).

Thank you, Reykjavik, for an incredible three days. Your vibrant culture, laid back nature and welcoming essence toward anyone who visited is wonderfully refreshing. You are seriously one of my favorite cities ever now and I hope to make it back someday!

But, there’s far more to check out over the next few days in north Iceland. Tomorrow, I’m picking up my rental wheels and taking Iceland’s Ring Road to the second-most populous city, Akureyri, which is about four hours away.

So long from the Smoky Bay!