Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I Could've Bought a Seal Pelt

Yesterday (Monday) started off very slowly. Wallace was downstairs in the lobby until 12, chatting with our Portugese roommate, Rui while I was upstairs skyping CJ. We hit the sidewalk around 12:30, and Rui decided to join us. He had nothing to do all day until the evening, so we all walked around the city.

In my research, I found the Hringbraut Bridge and knew immediately that I wanted to see it. After designing and building a bridge last year, I now have a fondness for bridges. I didn't know where it was though, and had kind of given up on seeing it. But as luck would have it though, we had to CROSS the bridge in order to get to the Nordic House!
 

 
Oh my god I was so happy.

Sadly, the photos I took are all terrible because it was raining and I couldn't ever stand back far enough to get a good shot. That's the problem with trying to photograph architecture and landscapes, your subjects are often significantly larger than you are and they won't fit in your camera.

The Nordic House was designed by Alvar Aalto, and is located at the University side of Reykjavik. It's a very beautiful building inside, and if it hadn't been raining profusely, I could've spent more time admiring the outside. They had an architecture exhibit on display inside, so that was nice to see!

 

 
The library, and some exterior shots of the building.

Behind the Nordic House was an engineering building for the university, which we popped into for a peek.

 

The entire facade facing the pond is made of glass. Very cool.

I was feeling a little beat and under the weather at this point, and it was only 2:30. So I left the boys and headed back to the hostel. I really enjoyed walking home alone, Reykjavik feels very safe and I enjoyed taking my time going home. I stopped for an ice cream too, which rocked.

We met up with John and Gene (VT Archie kids) for drinks, but the Bunk Bar's tap was broken (BROKEN. HOW ABSURD.) so we hit up Lebowski Bar, which was a huge letdown. It was the first bar we've been in so far with TVs. If I wanted to go to an American themed bar, I'd go home. But anyway, we spent the afternoon walking around, looking for new bars (which were all closed or dead because it was Monday) and trying whale kebabs for dinner.

But today. OH TODAY. Roomates German Bill and Canadian Julian joined Wallace and me on a Golden Circle adventure. We hit up some of Iceland's most famous natural wonders and had a GRAND old time. I'm so glad I was able to get out of the city. 

This is No Balls, our car. He had no oomph.

We drove around the Golden Circle loop, which hits three of Iceland's most famous and popular tourist destinations. Companies here sell tours around the Golden Circle for like 3000 krona, but for that price, we got to rent our car and set our own pace. Completely worth it.

 
A rock field we found on our drive.

First was ├×ingvellir National Park, which is the site of the rift valley that creates the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Here, the North American tectonic plate is sliding up onto the other plate, creating this wicked ridge. Also located here is the Law Rock, which is where the ancient Icelandic vikings would come to practice and enforce law. There's also a very pretty pond and waterfall here where they would drown misbehaving women. Why not men, you ask? Because they behead the men. But apparently, women are too pretty to be beheaded or something, I don't know.

 
The Mid Atlantic Ridge. Very tall, very cool.

 

The pretty waterfall where misbehaving viking women went to DIE.

 
Then we got silly in the car.

We tried to find a secret waterfall after that, but weren't successful. Our GPS lady took us into this campground and we got super lost. Apparently though, we were literally a campsite away from the waterfall at one point, but we had found a cool zip line to play on instead.

Julian goes zip zip!

Next, we headed to the Haukadalur valley, which is geothermally active and is the home to two geysers, Geysir and Strokkur. Strokkur is the only one currently active, erupting about every 3 minutes. Geysir only erupts around earthquakes.

 
Strokkur before and during!

 
Julian and I hiked up over the ridge, and could see the whole Icelandic countryside.

After the geysers, we visited the Gullfoss waterfall (meaning "golden falls"). It's a massive waterfall that is just massive. I can't even say anything about it. It's magnificent and impressive and humbling.
 
Downriver, and the falls

 
Rainbow! And side of the falls.

Lots of the visitor's centers here in Iceland sell reindeer pelts, and they're incredibly soft. If I had money and wasn't about to being a 10 week trip, I would totally buy one. But the center at Gullfoss was selling seal pelts. SEAL PELTS.


They were beautiful and horrifying! I wanted one so badly, and yet not at all. Also, they smelled like rotten fish.

Anyhoo. Those three make up the Golden Circle. But we had the car for a full 24 hours, and Rui had given us the coordinates to some geocaches near awesome things, so we hit the road again for more adventures.

Geocaching is modern day treasure hunts. People leave boxes of "treasure" places, post the coordinates, and other people find what they left. Our first geocache was next to this milky river. 

 

 
There were some 3D glasses, a french pokemon card, and a litle book to sign your name in.

The next geocache was near this perfect little hot spring Rui told us about. It was completely tucked away in East Jesus Nowhere, Iceland. Just a tiny natural hot spring with a shed built around it.

 

SO WARM.

 
I fixed spaghetti last night for our trip, and heated it up in the hot spring.

Our final geocache (which we ended up not finding) was at a crater that I can't remember the name of. But it's this wicked huge crater with a pool at the bottom. The level of the pool fluctuates with the rise and fall of the water table. You can walk around the entire top edge, and even the bottom edge. Inside the crater is just dead sound. Nothing echoes, everything is perfectly clear. And you can hear someone speak from the bottom all the way to the top. Nothing like great acoustics to end a day of adventure, right?

 

Very serene and peaceful.

We finally arrived back at our hostel around 10:30. it's now 12:41 and I'm tired and I have to check out of the hostel by 10 AM, so I'll leave you with some photos of the Iceland wildlife.

 








2 comments:

  1. So awesome! You are really making me want to visit Iceland. Like, for realz. I love the Sully and Pikachu pictures :D

    Erhmahgerd! Hot springs! Well. Not that I want anything at all hot right now since it is miserable here. But still. Looks like so much fun!

    Keep the pictures coming!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ditto! I pretty much want to visit every (safe) country in this world and now Iceland has climbed the list! ;) Awesome pictures, and great stories. And I'll soon be (sort of) joining you! I leave for France in 9 days!

    ReplyDelete