Within a few hours of landing at Keflavík International Airport we found ourselves luxuriating in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.  The milky neon blue water was just as strange as wearing a bathing suit outdoors in the wintry temperatures but relaxing in the warmth of the Lagoon with a silica mud mask was the perfect remedy for the red eye flight.

Given our short stay, we decided to take one of the Golden Circle tours to hit the highlights outside of Reykjavik.  We first stopped at Þingvellir National Park which is of great historical and geological importance.  It is the former site of the Icelandic Parliament which was established in 930 AD, making it one of the oldest in the world.  If that weren’t claim to fame enough, Þingvellir is also a rift valley where you can see the meeting of the North American and Eurasian Tectonic Plates.

Next up on the tour was a visit to the geysers in Haukadalur.  I can’t say I was a huge fan of the powerful sulphur smell given off by these geysers but boiling water shooting out of the ground isn’t something you see every day!  The last stop on the tour was the impressive waterfall Gulfoss.  Luckily for us the sun peeked out just enough that we were able to catch a rainbow over the falls!

Even more than the planned stops on the route, I was taken with just looking out the bus window at the extra-terrestrial appearance of the land.  The flat lava fields stretching as far as the eye could see were beautiful in their desolation.  I became enamored with the random farm houses that would pop up in the middle of nowhere, often covered in interesting graffiti.

Iceland is such a peculiar place, with its harsh landscape, unnaturally bright colors and strange smells.  It makes it easy to understand where the tales of elves, trolls, fairies and magic originated.  Even with the vague smell of sulphur, I was captivated and hope to someday return.

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