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Even though bus tours are not my favorite way to sightsee, they have a lot to be said for them: if it's a good one, you usually get a great deal of excellent information about where you are going and what you are seeing, much more than you would if you just went to the place yourself and looked at it. You get facts, history, colorful anecdotes and a timetable that keeps you moving. Our tour guide for the Golden Circle tour out of Reykjavik was good, though her English left something to be desired and she did the tour in both English AND French...a little too much French for our taste, but it does take twice as long apparently to say anything in French as it does to say the same thing in English, so we forgave it.

We made a rest stop about 40 minutes out at the Hveragerði greenhouse village, of which the highlight was PUFFINHUGGING!

The Golden Circle includes 3 of the most famous places worth seeing near Reykjavik: Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall), the Haukadalur Geysir hot springs area and the Tingvellir rift valley. We drove first to Gullfoss, and on the way, had an unscheduled bonus stop at a smaller, yet still impressive waterfall, named Faxi (or Vatnsleysufoss)...Foss means waterfall. It had a zigzag salmon ladder up the side and you can see people near it for size reference.

Faxi waterfall

But it had nothing on Gullfoss, which literally blew it away. We approached the waterfall gorge from above and the roar of it could be heard long before it came into sight. There were several other busloads of tourists on the Golden Circle but nowhere did we really feel crowded. Anders and the kids walked down to the waterfall, along the edge of the gorge and right onto the outcropping sticking into the river, where they were separated from the water by a single, simple rope fence. The force of the spray was tremendous and they were quite wet and sparkling with waterdrops by the time they climbed back to the top.

Martin thought the spray was particularly cool, because it became small waterfalls along the side of the gorge, that evaporated after only a short fall to rise as mist again, making several endless circular spirals. Our tour guide claimed that the falls were referred to as golden because on sunny days they can generate up to 4 rainbows across the water.

You can see the path with people on it on the left side...the part where it turns black is where the mist is drenching everything.

Looking downriver from the falls

I don't know about you but I could sit and stare at waterfalls all day long, completely hypnotized, so it was perhaps a good thing that the tour only allowed us about an hour at the falls. Here's a short movie that I took with my iPhone, so you can get a better idea of the power carving that gorge out of the rock. Gullfoss in action!

Bodacious Belated Birthday Wishes to Bethany and skogsraa!
mood: relaxed
music: Mom & Anders talking about dinner



thank you!

Iceland has been on my "want to" list since I moved to Sweden. Your pictures just fuel those fires!

You really should go, but wait until you see today's post (and tomorrow's!)


It is so much fun to relive my trip though yours! If you love waterfalls, you MUST go to Iguazu Falls in Argentina - they put Gullfoss to shame, which is saying something!


For some reason, South America is off my travel radar...not sure why. Need to rethink that!

It has taken three days for me to able to say, beautiful!!

It's taken ME longer than a week to say thank you!

Oh waterfalls! And these ones are really beautiful! I'm like you re "...I could sit and stare at waterfalls all day long, completely hypnotized..."

And they're EVERYWHERE in Iceland. You can't get away from them. Someone told us, if we want to see the best of them, we should go in the spring when the snowmelt is descending: awesome!

Spectacular again. I love falls, and hiked to some lovely ones a month ago.
I'm missing one of the photos showing up, but see all the others. Very cool.

Love me some waterfalls :)

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lizardek's obiter photos
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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

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