Day 7 Saturday 25th June Reykjavik
Our breakfast was delivered promptly at 7am to our room as we had an early start on the Golden Circle tour, boarding our coach at just after 8 am. Ours was coach #3 and there were at least six others waiting for passengers.
Hellisheidi geothermal power plant
After leaving Reykjavik our first stop was at the latest geothermal plant on Iceland. We had passed through beautiful eyes countryside to get to the plant and once there we watched a number of short videos and looked at wall chart of the history of geo thermal energy on the island.
The Kerid Crater
The crater was formed over 6,500 years ago and is one of a row of such craters called Tjarnarholar which is in Iceland’s Western volcanic zone.
Our departure was delayed by a fellow passenger loosing track of the time.
The Strokkur geyser
The Strokkur geyser is in the geothermal area of Geysir. This area is from where our word geyser is derived. The original geyser is now dormant again but nearby the Strokkur geyser blasts hot water and steam at least once every five or six minutes.
We were lucky and even had blasts within seconds of each other.
Our departure was again delayed, this time by over ten minutes, as a couple become separated around the geysers a one of them went to the wrong car park.
The original geyser – ‘Geysir’ now dormant.
Lunch was at the complex of shops and restaurant at the Gullfloss waterfall. What a busy place this was with a couple of halls for coach parties to eat as well as even larger areas for other guests who had bought food at the cafe.
Two long tables were marked with our coach number and lunch was delivered to the table immediately. First course was a cheesy soup with fresh rolls, followed by baked salmon accompanied with salad and rice and then a delicious cake and coffee.
The path to the waterfall started next to the cafe and led down to a rift where the water poured over the waterfall.
There was a long flight of stairs down to the path that lead to the falls. The path the wound down closer to the ravine and the falls themselves. It was difficult to differentiate between the mist off the falls and falling rain looking over the waterfall.
After climbing the rock outcrop it was possible to get very close to the falls.
Our last stop was to be Thingvellir which is in an Icelandic National Park. This is special place in Iceland as it was here next to the rocks that the first parliament (the Althing) met in the open air. This was first established in 930. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
To get there we passed through the National Park the rifts caused by the meeting of the tectonic plates were visible. We could see largest lake in Iceland,Thingvallavatn, away in the distance.
We walked from the coach, along a path beside the rock face until we reached the rock outcrop where speakers used to stand to address the assembled islanders.
The last momentous event was in June 1944 when the islanders declared themselves a republic and became self governing.
Back on the path we climbed up to a viewing platform over more recent rifts in the ground.
In order to use the loos we had to have a coupon from our guide.
We had had a 30-40 minute walk to get to the viewing platform and where the coach was now parked. Here is the view from the visitor’s centre towards the lake, Thingvallavatn.
Given our other experiences it should have come as no surprise that we had a passenger missing. It was around 4pm and with the ship leaving in 30 minutes our guide was understandably getting anxious. We left him at the car park and set-off on the coach to go back to the previous car park. Instead as we pulled out, another coach arrived with the missing passenger who it appears had walked back to the original car park.
On board at 17:10 and thankfully we were not the last coach. still it was slightly disconcerting to be greeted by the hotel manager and other ship’s officers at the gangplank, as well as the serried ranks of fellow passengers who were watching to see who had delayed the departure from 16:30. Here’s a view of Reykjavik as we left in the evening.
Azura then, left a little late for our next destination and I did spend the next hour or so on the balcony looking, without any joy, for whales in the bay off Reykjavik. But we did get some interesting clouds just before dinner.
My meal tonight was pulled beef tian, followed by lamb with a tomato cassoulet then summer berry pudding. The beef tian was inedible (unusual for a meal on P&O) so I switched to a bowl of soup.