...dawned inauspiciously enough - still raining, still windy, temperature about 42 degrees. Now, it appears from analyzing numerous travel books and guides to Iceland that most tourists prefer to travel the ring in a clockwise direction. I chose, however, to make the trip the other way. I think it was a good choice, but it made reading the tour guides a bit awkward. We did start out rather conventionally, taking highway 1 north out of Reykjavik to Mosfellsbær and east on 36 to Þingvellir.
Þingvellir was just shy of miserable. It was easy enough to see that on a nice day it could be a most attractive area. We only got out of the car a couple of times to snap a few quick pictures. We decided there'd be opportunity when we returned in a week or so, and figured the weather couldn't be any worse.
From there we took 365 to Laugarvatn, turning left on 37. At Muli 37 joins 35, and we continued north to Geysir and Gullfoss. Is it possible to go to Iceland without visiting Gullfoss? I doubt it. It is probably the most photographed and talked about of all the Iceland waterfalls. It is unbelievably difficult to capture this most unusual waterfall. I did not fully understand what it was all about until I was actually standing there looking at it. The river makes three 90 degree turns over two impressive cascades off a single pivot point, finally disappearing into a narrow canyon and a cloud of mist that entirely obscures its actual height. That final drop leaves the falls shrouded in mystery and even now looking at the pictures there's a sense of incompleteness - I've been there, I've seen it, but I still have questions.
Returning back down 35 we passed through Reykholt, Skálholt and Laugaras where we had our first (of many, many) single lane bridge experience. We then turned right on 30 , and shortly connected with highway 1 - The other end, going the other direction from which we started in the morning.
This was the first of many days that we found ourselves pressed for time to meet our 6pm check in deadline at our farm-hotel. Our original plan was to hurry on to our hotel, skip a few things, and then backtrack if necessary. This was not a good plan, because there's always something new and exciting to see in any direction, and retracing steps would ultimately be at the expense of something else. The clouds were beginning to break up, and we were looking at the possibility of a decent evening. We stopped at Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss (another predictable stop), and continued on through Vík to Höfðabrekka.
After checking in we returned to Vík to get a bite to eat, but we were too late. We did get in on the tail end of a June 17th Independence Day parade. We took two little side trips, one down 215 to the black gravel beach, and then out 218 to the end of the road. Great picture taking opportunities in both places.
Moving on - Day 2