By Simone Benson, a Fourth Grader in San Diego
Our friends in San Diego recommended Season Tours, and we are so happy they did! Our guide, Tyffi Tyffason, picked us up at our apartment near Reykjavik at 8:30 in the morning, and we left to spend the day touring the Golden Circle. This is one of Iceland’s most popular destinations, and it’s not even a circle.
First, we took a scenic drive to the geothermal power plant Nesjavallavirkjun. It was beautiful! There was so much greenery and the smoke was majestic and made the whole scene come together. Except it was better than smoke—it was steam! So no pollution. I loved it so much that if I ever come to Iceland again, that would be a place I would definitely love to see again.
Then we went to Kerid Crater Lake which formed 6500 years ago and was AMAZING. Like 10/10. If you ever go to Iceland, you should definitely go there. I was amazed how beautiful it was. The hike was my favorite part about it. It felt so good to be in the very fresh air. The water is super blue and looks even brighter because of the red volcanic rock all around it.
Faxi Waterfall is full of salmon. Icelanders made a salmon ladder so that the fish swimming in the river at the bottom of the waterfall would have a way to get up and keep swimming. It was so fun to climb up and down the walls. There were also little gaps in the ladder that we had to jump across. The ladder was fun to play on. The tour kept getting better and better.
Gullfoss Waterfall was the busiest stop on the tour, and we could see why everyone wanted to see it! It was the biggest waterfall I have ever seen. It’s fed by Iceland’s second biggest glacier, the Langjokull. Tyffi also told us how it was saved by Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who grew up on a farm at Gullfoss with her sisters. They actually made the first path to the waterfall! Some people wanted to buy the waterfalls to make another power plant, but she fought. And won!
The water plummets more than 100 feet and you couldn’t even see the bottom. It was truly amazing! And with all the mist it made a rainbow!
The Grave of a Troll
Did you know that trolls live in Iceland? Bergthor was a giant troll who lived in a cave at Blafell, near the church of Haukadalur. He really liked the church bells and asked his friend to bury him where he could hear them ring. Tyffie took us to his grave and it was cool to hear about Iceland’s history. There are even elves, who are also called the “hidden people,” who live all over Iceland. You do NOT want to mess with an elf. They cause a lot of trouble.
Next, we drove to the Geysir, which has boiling mud pits and the erupting Strokkur It has been erupting for more than 1000 years! Right before it erupted, it would make this very cool dome like a blue bubble that when it popped, the geyser erupted!
Next, we went to Thingvellir National Park. We got to see two tectonic plates, above the water, drifting apart. The tectonic plates are very cool. They are so big and beautiful and the scenery was amazing! One of the plates is North American, the other is Eurasian. So we were looking at two continents at the same time. When we were looking at the plates, we asked a random person to take our picture. It turns out that random guy was our next tour guide later in the week! Iceland really is a small place.
Meeting the Icelandic horses was so much fun! They were just random horses that we could feed if we pulled out the long grass just beside the fence. It was so much fun! Also, Tyffi shared a fun fact. No other breed of horses can ever come onto to the island so the breed of horses stays pure.
This waterfall was our last stop and was also amazing! I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but my big sister does, and she recognized the waterfall right away.
Tyffi dropped us back home at our apartment around 6 that night. We were so tired but so happy! He is also an amazing chef who does food tours in his house. I want to do that next time so that I can taste everything he cooks (except maybe the shark he was talking about) and see where he lives. Tyffi took us to all the right places! I loved spending time with him and having fun.
About the Author
My name is Simone Benson. I am ten years old and am going into 4th grade. I like singing, dancing, and LOVE acting. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family, and having a good laugh! I love traveling because it lets me see the world in a new perspective.
How We Got to Iceland, Where We Stayed and Other Fun Things We Did
From the Editor
How We Got There
WOW! Yep, that’s how we flew to Iceland. On a nonstop flight out of Los Angeles on Wow Air. We were worried that the airline might be too “budget” for such a long flight, but we had a great experience. The planes are new, clean and comfortable. Great food was available for reasonable prices, and our return flight even had electrical outlets for electronics. (Luckily we were still carrying our Icelandic electric converters on board!)
Where We Stayed
Since Iceland is a small country, hotels fill up quickly. So it is best to book well in advance! As a family of five, we are often more comfortable in apartments than hotels. We rented a beachfront, three-bedroom apartment in Gardabaer, a small suburb of Reykjavic. Our apartment was awesome! Not only did we wake up to beautiful views, but it was nice to be able to make easy breakfasts and pack snacks before we set out for the day. The drive into Reykjavic was easy, and parking was never a problem. Highly recommend!
Other Fun Things We Did
Have a sweet tooth? You won’t want to miss out on authentic Icelandic chocolate. The Omnon Chocolate Factory holds a tour every day at 2 pm. Just buy your tickets online, and get ready to taste REAL tree-to-bar chocolate. They show you how they select and roast cocoa beans from all over the world, then turn them into real, delicious chocolate bars.
By any standard, Iceland is an expensive country to visit. But we found something free and fun to do: a walking tour of downtown Reykjavik that helped introduce us to the city. Our guide was hilarious and friendly and shared some of his favorite places to go and eat.
Because what’s a trip to Iceland without a trip to the Blue Lagoon? It fills up, so make your reservations in advance. The good news is that because they require reservations, the lagoon doesn’t feel full, even on its most crowded day. The locker rooms feel like a spa, and there are different mud mask and drink packages available. It’s near the airport, so this is a great way to unwind when you land, or a final stop if you have a late afternoon/evening flight.