Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Golden Semi-Circle

I know I've posted a bunch of pictures from Gulfoss from various other trips, but none of them have been this snowy!

It was just a bit chilly when we were there.   :)

We walked around to check out the view, then made our way up the steps to the shop at the top of the hill...

...for some delicious kjotsupa (lamb soup). So. Good. One of these days I'll track down a recipe for this and try to make it myself. We wandered around the store a bit after we finished, bought a little lava rock tealight candle holder, then went back out to the waterfall.

Bye, Gulfoss!

We started to head back out of the area toward the hotel. Since we had to drive right past Geysir anyway, we figured we might as well stop for a few minutes. All we were missing from the Golden Circle was Thingvellir, but that was a little too far away for this trip.

It was pretty cool to see the random pools of bubbly hot water in the middle of the snow.

We didn't have to wait long for Strokkur to erupt. We lucked out, did two more short eruptions right after the first big one! I've never seen it do that before.

So steamy!  :)

We hung out a little bit longer, then picked our way back out to the car (there was ice EVERYWHERE). All of those people were waiting for Strokkur to erupt again...little did they know they missed the best eruption!

We got in the car and kept driving. We had hoped to stop at the tomato greenhouse from our last trip to buy some tasty cucumber relish, but they were closed and we missed them by less than 10 minutes! (If only we had skipped watching the last eruption haha.) We kept driving through a bit of snow and sleet, and eventually wound up at our next stop: Hotel Ranga.

Check-in was super easy and they offer you a complimentary glass of wine when you get there. Mark was especially impressed with their whiskey selection.  :)

We each had a glass of wine, then went to the hotel's restaurant for a fantastic dinner. The owner of the hotel was walking around, greeting all of the guests, and the food was delicious. We were just finishing up when we heard someone clinking a wine glass. It was the owner, standing near the entrance to the restaurant. "Ok, everybody, leave your tables as they are and come outside; you can come back to finish in a minute. There are Northern Lights!"

We were having pretty good luck on this trip.   :)

The best view was right from the hotel's parking lot. They were a little faint behind the clouds, but hey - I'll take it!

We stayed outside for a little while until the lights started to fade, then went back inside. We had already settled up our dinner bill right before running outside earlier, so we decided to take advantage of another cool hotel amenity...the outdoor hot tub right behind our room! We had to run through the snow in our bathing suits, but only for a few feet (plus we had the hotel's bathrobes and slippers to help keep us from completely freezing). It was a lot of fun to hang out in the toasty water while it snowed around us. *Adds hot tub to shopping list*

We hung out in the hot tub for a little while, then went back inside to get cleaned up. I took a steamy hot bath in the huge tub and used all their good smelly bath gels and salts, then we decided to go check out the bar.

Mark got some whiskey and I got some port, and we ended the night hanging out in the lounge upstairs before heading to bed. It had been another great day, but we had a looooong day ahead of us!

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