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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 13: Reykjavik, Saga Trail and the Blue Lagoon

Time really flies when you're having fun. It was our last day in Iceland and our flight was scheduled for the evening. It was great that our hotel, the Welcome Apartments, offers a free storage room where you can lock your stuff and pick up later. We basically checked out already and stored our luggage before we were picked up on our 7:30 tour. I wanted to sleep longer, but we had to go and exchange our voucher for the Saga Trail tour at the office of Grayline.


After driving along the Hvalfjördur and a short stop at a river we arrived in Borgarnes at the Settlement Center. The Settlement Center was great. The visit at the settlement exhibition was included in the tour. We got headphones, and the audio guide was in all major languages and it takes you leisurely through the exhibition. One exhibition was included in the tour price, and we visited the Settlement Exhibition where you learn the early history of Iceland. They have some interactive elements there and really put an effort in it which made it quite rewarding. There was even a piece of a moving boat where you can ride on and imagine yourself sailing on the rough seas of Iceland. It was surprisingly nice exhibition so we decided to visit the other one, the Egil Saga Exhibition. It was equally interesting and a bit more bloody. 


We continued the tour from Borgarnes to Fossatún for the lunch break. It was a nice stop, because you can eat and drink there right next to a river with small, rather low but wide waterfalls. There's also a hill next to the restaurant with Trolls. I brought my lunch with me and sat next to the waterfalls, enjoying the sight and taking photographs while eating. All the other tourists including my friend stayed at the restaurant for lunch. We were given enough time to walk around, but two older couples, a French couple and a Swedish-German couple took their time looking at the trolls, while all the others were impatiently waiting in the bus.


Next stop was at Reykholt where we got a good introduction on the exhibit about the Saga writer and poet Snorri Sturluson. Afterwards, there was some time to explore the area so we took a look at the church and went to see "Snorri's Pool, which was said to be Iceland's first hot tub.


Last stop of our tour was at Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring. Unfortunately, the area for sight-seeing was rather small and so it felt like quite a small blubbering hot spring compared to the other ones we had seen in Iceland during the whole trip. But still, the boiling water coming from the earth was nothing to complain about.


The group then split up, and we changed the tour bus in almost impossible to pronounce Deildartunguhver as our tour ended and returned to Reykjavík while some other people continued the tour to the Highland and nearby waterfalls, Hraunfossar. I would love to go there too, but we needed to get back to Reykjavík in time for our flight back.

We returned to the hotel to pick up our luggage and chatted with an elderly American woman who was on a smoking break in front of the apartment while waiting for our pick up to the Blue Lagoon. After waiting for a while and no bus came, while my friend was chatting with the old lady on her second smoking break, I called up the bus company. Fortunately, we've bought a local SIM card for my phone when we arrived. I was a bit annoyed as it seems like there was no advisory about a pick up at our hotel. Going on foot to the station will take a while and that was not an option for us. Thankfully, they sent a pick up after ten minutes so we were just in time at the main station for the bus to the Blue Lagoon and to the airport. It appears to be a bit typical Icelandic - not everything works out in the beginning as planned, but they are always helpful and so in the end, all works out after all. I'm pretty torn between being German and being Filipino.


As our flight back to Berlin would only leave after midnight, we had planned to go from Reykjavík to the Blue Lagoon and directly from there to the airport, because it's much closer to the airport than to Reykjavík and it is open until the evening. We could bath in the hot pool of natural springs surrounded by lava, before leaving Iceland! We pre-booked the busses and the entrance to the Blue Lagoon with Reykjavík Excursions, and the good thing is that you are flexible to choose the departure of the bus to the airport, depending on how long you want to stay at the Blue Lagoon.


After a wonderful bath in the huge pool, sauna and relaxing around a bit, we decided to take the earlier bus to the airport so would not need to hurry. We had ample time at the airport so we went to see a couple of stores inside after checking in.


It was a bit of a hectic schedule, but we have seen a lot of Iceland in this short a time. I'm already excited about the next time because I've promised myself to come back. We boarded the plane and were back to Berlin in the morning.
   

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