Sunday, November 06, 2016

D2 Iceland - Golden Circle at southern part of Iceland

Hveragerði Geothermal Park - South Iceland

We started our day by cooking the fresh eggs inside the stream of hot springs for 10 to 12 minutes at the Hveragerði Geothermal Park, a 45-km drive from Reykjavik. The egg tasted so delicious and thoroughly boiled! :)

Cafe Restaurant that used geothermal heat for cooking at Hveragerði

It was amazing to find the town like this where the hot spring's geothermal heat was used for cooking (outdoor kitchen), baking bread, space heating, laundry, and even greenhouse.

Beautiful nature at Þingvellir National Park - Iceland

Beautiful Þingvellir church and fissure from afar at Þingvellir National Park - Iceland

From there we headed to Þingvellir or Thingvellir National Park, the first national park in Iceland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a site of historical, cultural, and geological importance in Iceland - so called a must-visit destination in Iceland!!!

Þingvellir National Park - Iceland

It lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. It was also the site of the world's oldest parliament, the Alþingi,established around 930 A.D, and location where Icelanders celebrated their independence from Denmark back in June 17, 1944.

Erupted geyser at Strokkur - Iceland

We had a short lunch break at "Geysir,"which means geyser or hot spring. There were few cafes available there. At the opposite, it was the site where we could watch the erupting small geyser, the place name called Strokkur, which erupted every few minutes. It was harmless though. People could just stood up surrounding it and watched it amazingly!!! Great experience!!! :)

First tier of the Gullfoss waterfalls - Upper part
Second tier of the Gullfoss waterfalls - Flow to the bottom creating splash like rain :)

From there we went to see Gullfoss, which means 'Golden Falls,' a breathtaking two-tired waterfall that dropped 32 meters into a long, narrow canyon.

Full view of Gullfoss waterfalls or Golden Falls - Iceland :)

The full-view of the Gullfoss would be as the picture above :) It was beautiful, wasn't it??? :)

Gullfoss - Iceland

There was a stone memorial to Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who determined to preserve the waterfalls and threatened to throw herself down into the falls in protest against the foreign investors who wanted to transform it into a dam for a power station. Fyi, my friend and I had to wear the raincoat as the falls' water splashed into us as we passed by the area. It was a wonderful exposure to keep walking up and see the upper part (first tier) of the falls. Simply beautiful!!! :)

Fridheimar Greenhouse

From there, we were brought to Friðheimar or Fridheimar Greenhouse, a place where tomatoes were grown inside there all year round through the long dark winter under the artificial lighting and using natural hot water from underneath. They opened small cafe or restaurant serving various food and beverage products using the tomatoes that they grew, such as: tomato ice cream, tomato and apple pie, tomato Schnapps, and so on.

Icelandic horses' stable - Fridheimar, Iceland

Other than doing horticulture inside the greenhouse, they also bred Icelandic horses at the stable nearby and offered demonstration of the famous five gaits of the Icelandic horses. They opened up the stable for us to have closer view and we could touch and have selfie with them as well :D Free coffee/tea was served while watching the performance.

The Gaits of the Icelandic Horse - Pic source: Fridheimar

The Icelandic Horse show at Fridheimar, Iceland :)

"Whether on the farm or for overland transport, the horse has been the trusty companion of the Icelanders down the centuries, and even today farmers ride into the highlands to round up their sheep in autumn. In modern times the horse has become the Icelanders’ favorite leisure companion. The Icelandic horse is a small, sturdy breed, famed for its five gaits: in addition to the walk, trot and gallop, Icelandic horses may have the tölt (a smooth run) and skeið (flying pace). Four- and five-gaiters are prized." - Source:

Stracta Hotel in Hella, Iceland

After such a long day, we were finally brought into our hotel - Stracta Hotel - located at Hella in South Iceland. Since there were 3 of us, we were given the Studio Apartment room, which cost double from the usual Standard Double room. There was kitchen facilities and bathrobe provided as well.
Wonderful dinner at Kanslarinn Restaurant at Hella, Iceland

It was up to us where we wanted to have our dinner at. Some chose to eat at the hotel's restaurant. Some ate their own food brought from Singapore, e.g. instant noodle. And few of us chose to eat at the Kanslarinn Restaurant located just opposite of the Stracta Hotel. It was one of the recommended restaurant by the Trip Advisor - coincidentally. My friend's dad and I had fish with boiled potato, rye bread, and salad; Mom ordered lasagna; my friends had fish and chips; and my dear father ordered the tenderloin horse meat steak.

Excuse me? Did I type wrongly? No, I didn't. And yes, he ordered the tenderloin horse meat steak for his dinner. When I read through the menu available, he immediately told me that he wanted to order that. When the food came, everyone was trying it. I was hesitant in the beginning as I loved horse, not as food, but as they were. My friend convinced me trying it as it tasted delicious, even more delicious than the beef steak. So I asked my dad for a bite, and true enough, the horse meat was really delicious!!! It was tender and juicy. The chef should have cooked it skillfully to serve up to this standard. Well done!!! So, if you happened staying nearby this restaurant, go and try it for yourself!! :)

Soaked ourselves with hot tub under the full and bright moon and stars :)

We finished our dinner and walked back to the hotel. Some of us met up again at the outdoor hot tub provided by the hotel, just outside the restaurant. It was cold outside at night but the water was warm at 38 degree Celsius and it felt so shiok to soak ourselves in it after such a long day!! Moreover, we were blessed with beautiful full and bright moon plus thousands of stars above us!!! Our day was ended beautifully!! We had a peaceful, warm, and beautiful sleep afterwards. Recharged and ready for our next adventure in Iceland!!! :)

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