Land of water and fire

I caught up on my Icelandic beer on a noontime stop during a brief rainstorm. Almost as soon as I left the basalt cliffs of Þingvellir it began to rain. Following the signs — and the long lines of buses — I made my way toward Geysir, the second stop on the Golden Triangle as it’s called. The Golden Triangle is a traveling circuit tour operators take visitors on day-long trips from Reykjavik. It does give short-term visitors a chance to see some of the wonders of Iceland, but makes for crowded roads and packed tourist buses.

But, back to the beer. Gull is one of the well-known beverages in this country where people seem to really enjoy their alcoholic drinks. Funny, because beer was actually banned from 1915 until 1989. It seems residents are now making up for lost time. And so did I.

Once the rain ended, I hiked out to the thermal area that gives Geysir its name. Bubbling cauldrons of blue water, geysers and steaming streams fill the area. The main geyser (which actually was the first to be named a “geysir” and the one from which others get their name) erupts every eight minutes or so and can send its plume hundreds of feet into the air.


From Geysir, I hit the road to the final site in the Golden Triangle. Gullfoss is one of Iceland’s many, many waterfalls and certainly its most visited. Although not the island’s largest, it is extraordinarily impressive. The water thunders down three separate stair steps, finally disappearing to eyes in a cloud of mist. On sunny days — which this wasn’t — rainbows are seen in the billowing clouds of vapor.


Since it was getting late, I decided to press on toward a campground in the village of Flúðir that I had earmarked in my travel guide as a possible stopover. Turning off the bus-filled roadway was a relief and a treat. Ponies, sheep and birds were my only companions. Farms were scattered widely in the green valleys between the mountains.

Arriving in Flúðir, I located the Tjaldmiðstöðin campgrounds. Nestled amid small birches, dozens of travel trailers and tents filled the large fields. The duo staffing the camp office — Benedetta and Tobia from Italy — were delightful. Tobia is an architect and an artist (you can check out his site at They were kind enough not only to let me sit in their office for an hour to compose my latest post but also showed me the best spots to visit while here.

I set up camp, ready for my first night in the open.

Then, I proceeded to the center of the tiny village, hoping to locate some dinner. Never did I expect I’d happen upon the only Ethiopian restaurant in Iceland. The cook came to the island from Ethiopia as a nanny and ended up marrying and staying. It was a succulent vegetarian treat.

And I had time for a second Gull beer!

Categories: Uncategorized


  1. Fun read, Paula. Glad you’re having a good time. Brings back memories of a trip or two we took — especially Put-In-Bay. I love your writing style and the details you include.


  2. Love hearing about your adventures!


  3. The story of the saving of Gullfoss is amazing. It was destined to be a hydroelectric site, which is an engineering no brainier. One tough local woman said no, and won, in the very early 1900’s. Quite a story.


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