I had one more day in Reykjavik before joining a group of trekkers and a guide with whom I’d share my next 10 days in Iceland. Coincidentally, I was in Reykjavik at the same time as my friend Nancy, who taught in Tasiujaq with me in 2010. Having not seen each other in almost 5 years, we had lots to catch up on over lunch at Café Lokí, coffee (and, conveniently, laundry) at the Laundromat Café, and a little afternoon of shopping.
That evening, I headed back to the lobby of Hlemmur Square to meet the group I’d be trekking with, and to go over the details of the trek. Gulli was to be our guide (from the West Fjords of Iceland), and our group consisted of Vlad (from Mississauga but originally from Poland), Ardelle and Jennifer (mother and daughter from Alberta), Steve and Eva (couple from British Columbia), John (from Scotland), Ted (from California), Beth and Loraine (friends from Florida), Bek (from Australia), and Gokchen and Mustafa (from Turkey).
We were to begin our trek from Landmannalaugar. In the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the highlands of Iceland, Landmannalaugar is at the northern end of the Laugavegur trail. But first, we had to get there.
Maximizing our opportunity, we broke up our commute from Reykjavik with a stop at each point of Iceland’s famous Golden Circle.
First, we went to Þingvellir National Park for a tour of AlÞingi, which served as the site of Icelandic parliament at Þingvellir from 930 until 1798. It is also where you can see the cracks that result from the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian plates. Þingvellir is notable for its unusual tectonic and volcanic environment in a rift valley.
Next, we went to Iceland’s famous Gullfoss (“Golden Falls”), located in the canyon of the Hvíta river.
We finished the Golden Circle with a trip to the geothermal area of Haukadalur – home of Strokkur and Geysir. While the bigger Geysir erupts very rarely, Strokkur erupts every 5 to 10 minutes, giving us the opportunity to catch 15-20 (sometimes 40) meter high eruptions.
We arrived at Landmannalaugar with plenty of time to set up our tents, take in the scenery, and enjoy our first of many meals together full of laughs and great stories.