Posted by: yachtcrewsing | November 15, 2011

Iceland: Gulfoss, Geyser and Reykjavik

Day 7 AM- The Golden Circle: Gulfoss and Geyser

The quintessential day tour in Iceland is to the ‘Golden Circle’, a region roughly an hour and a half drive East of Reykjavik which houses some of Iceland’s most impressive and accessible geologic attractions, including an incredible waterfall and the geysers (purportedly the only Icelandic word to enter the English language). We joined the groups of tourists in visiting this site (albeit not in unnecessarily intense super jeeps), and we’re grateful to have made the three and a half hour journey from the West coast.

Gulfoss (‘foss’ being the Icelandic suffix denoting a waterfall) was an impressive spectacle with a beautiful surrounding walk. Geyser, being unlike anything I had ever previously seen, was in my opinion a more impressive sight. Almost on clockwork, the boiling water would begin to bubble violently in its pool before suddenly shooting a vast pillar of water into the air, the molecules of water seeming more to dissipate then to shower back to earth. The water boiling up from the ground in little pools was an impressive 80-100 degrees Celsius, resultantly providing the area with photogenic pockets of steamy mist.

Day 7 PM- Reykjavik

I have really never heard anything good about iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik. Not that I have necessarily heard anything negative regarding this particular area, but not a single person whom I discussed the country with offered positive (or indeed any) feedback on Reykjavik. Due to this commonplace apathy, I feel it necessary to declare my love and adoration for the city. When first walking around, I was struck by something particularly odd about it. Trying to ascertain what this was, I eventually established that this feeling was due to the fact that it was particularly unlike any other place I have ever been, a very rare sensation. The main street has elements of Dutch architecture and style, the quirkiness of bohemian culture, the bustling atmosphere of London pubs and green space reminiscent of Central Park. It is a brilliant fusion of the new and the old; modern glass cubist buildings are interspersed with old wooden buildings; the fabulous new multicolour lit glass opera house overlooks tired antiquated fishing trawlers. Reykjavik somehow manages to simultaneously convey a distinct sense of cozy charm and funky-chic.

The special restaurant that we had selected with help from our friends at Tripadvisor- the Seafood Cellar– was an embodiment of this fusion. For the last dinner of our holiday we indulged in a five course set meal (which somehow became seven) of “new Icelandic cuisine.” The two and a half hour meal was unlike anything I have previously experienced- the all-local ingredients were fused into a visually and aromatically palatable work culinary of art. Or multiple enthusiastic and informative waiters led us through a self-proclaimed “journey” in which all ingredients and processes were described upon the presentation of the dish. In every dish, from wild goose to red current sorbet, the mixture of colours and textures delightfully adhered to this promise. As my boyfriend so accurately described it, “it is worth stopping over in Reykjavik just to experience this restaurant.”

One thing I was surprised to learn through the course of my trip was that Iceland is truly a place of culinary delight and unparalleled consistency in beauty of food presentation.

In addition to the plethora of incredible-looking restaurants in Reykjavik, there also exists an incredible nightlife and array of musical talent (which is showcased every October in the Iceland Airwaves music festival). It is becoming increasingly common for cross- Atlantic travelers to spend a one-night stop over in the city to partake in the nightlife. If not for this, I nonetheless highly recommend it to experience the city’s delightful ambiance, restaurants and cozy cafes.

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