Weather, Mother Nature, the elements – whatever you want to call it, you can’t control it (except for the title you give to it).
Being exposed to varying types of weather is a non-negotiable part of travel, and we must adapt to it, even when it seems inconvenient to our plans.
Oh, go on, I’ll just say it. There were snowstorms. Pretty much daily.
Well, the weather event deepened during our fourth day there – just in time for our day tour to the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon – somewhere I’ve been daydreaming about visiting for years.
It rained all day. The wind hammered our wet bodies all day. It snowed periodically.
Put bluntly, the weather was pretty crap for sightseeing.
Every time we hopped off our mini bus to see the sights that we had been dreaming of, we got saturated with blistering cold rain and wind whilst trying to get at least one good photo of the mist-obscured landmarks without our camera lens’ being speckled with rain or fogging over, only to get back on the bus and try to dry off before arriving at the next destination, and bracing yourself to brave it all again.
It’s a tough situation to be in when on a specific day sightseeing, when your attempts at actually seeing the sights is hampered.
It can make you feel downtrodden and disappointed.
Or, alternatively, you can laugh at the turn of events, and embrace the unique experience you’re having at said chosen landmarks.
I mean, you’ve probably been dying to see them for so long that you’ve already Googled them and seen images of them in “perfect weather”, but now you’ve got an entirely different perspective on them!
And wow, how cool that you got to experience a REAL SNOWSTORM? That’s one to tick off your list, right?
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Unexpected weather doesn’t automatically mean a ruined day. Your attitude does.
As I stated above: Weather is something you can’t control, and weather comes part and parcel with travel, so you’ve simply got to learn to roll with it and not let it dampen your day. (See what I did there?)
So that’s exactly what Dan and I did. And we had a wonderful (albeit a tad cold) day exploring some of the most fabulous spots in Iceland.
The first stop of our Golden Circle tour was to Pingvellir National Park, where two tectonic plates meet.
Here you can, as well as getting a spectacular view on a clear day – which we obviously did not have – walk or even scuba dive between the two tectonic plates.
What a marvel of the earth it is!
Covered in snow and ice it was such a wonderful sight – truly magical!
After Pingvellir, we headed to the Geysir, sometimes known as The Great Geysir, which was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans.
We were lucky enough to catch the current main geyser at the thermal hot spring area (The Geysir itself has been mostly dormant for years now), Strokkur, which spouts water 30 metres (100 ft) into the air, doing it’s thing during the time we were there.
Then we retreated into the tourist centre there which, fortunately for us and many other travellers, had dining facilities – Hello hot chocolate to soothe my frozen body!
Gulfoss, one of the most breathtaking landmarks in all of Iceland, was absolutely stunning in all it’s frozen glory.
Gulfoss is part of the Hvita river, and plunges in two stages of 11m and 21m, into a crevice 32m.
With thousands of litres of water gushing over the frozen form of the waterfall, surrounded by snow and rock, it truly was a sight to see.
Not part of the three main stops of the classic Golden Circle but often included on the Circle’s day tours, is Kerid Volcanic Crater, one of several crater lakes in the area, but at about 3,000 years old, it is really still only about half the age of most of the surrounding volcanic features.
Made of red (rather than black) volcanic rock, the crater itself is approximately 55m deep, 170m wide, and 270m across.
The last section of our day was the part we had been looking forward most – the Blue Lagoon.
Easily recognisable from the thousands of gorgeous, misty, and brilliantly blue images posted by travel Instagrammers, the Blue Lagoon is obviously a very popular spot in Iceland.
In fact, some would argue it is THE most popular tourist spot in Iceland. I know some who have travelled to Iceland purely to visit the lagoon.
I must also admit the Lagoon was the first thing I ever learnt about Iceland, and did originally spark my interest in travelling there one day.
After so much anticipation, my visit to the Blue Lagoon certainly did not disappoint.
Warm and welcoming, the water enveloped me in a little cocoon of comfort and relaxation after a long day of travel, rain and wind.
It really was the perfect way to end the day.
I was lucky enough that it stopped raining (well, so heavily) for about five minutes when we first entered the lagoon, so I was able to snap a few photos on my DSLR before returning it safely to my locker and swap it out with my ageing GoPro.
And now prepare for some terrible quality GoPro images (I really need to replace my old model).
Oh, and one other thing about the Blue Lagoon:
Yes, it’s potentially the most popular place in Iceland, but don’t let that put you off from going.
After all the reports I’d heard about the lagoon becoming to commercialised and overrun, I was surprised to find it not what I would actually classify as “busy” when I went.
Yes, there was a line to get signed in (You have to book in advance, so don’t just rock up announced), but once we got into the actual lagoon, I found there was so much space!
Don’t make the mistake of just staying near the entrance, the bar, or the mask bar – there is so much more space to the lagoon if you explore it.
Dan and I even found a little cove that we practically had to ourselves to enjoy the relaxing thermal water.
So, I beg you: don’t be offput by the fact that the lagoon is popular. Give it a chance!