The second day was extremely exciting for me as I had planned to travel along what has come to be known as the Golden Circle. The Circle offers travellers the chance to see three of Iceland's biggest attractions: Pingvellir National Park, Geysir and the awesome Gullfoss. All three are just a simple and short drive from downtown Reykjavik.
From Gullfoss, there are several options to drive further east. We chose to drive along the pathed route passing by Sel and Hella before getting to Seljalandsfoss, a beautiful waterfall with a path winding behind it. One could walk behind the waterfall to enjoy a different perspective, but I skipped that as I was not willing to wet myself and my camera (you would definitely need a raincoat to do this). Further east along route 1 took us to Skogafoss, a truly mighty waterfall. My travel mate took a long nap here while I hiked up a fairly steep hill to get to the top of the falls. From there, I enjoyed a bird's eye view of the region as well as the snow-capped mountains in the interior of Iceland. This is definitely a hike (388 steps) you would not want to miss.
We had dinner at Vik, then sat down to make further plans. It was late by then and we knew that it was impossible to drive further east towards Skaftafell. In fact, we had made a reservation at the Hofn Youth Hostel, which was definitely impossible to get to by the end of day two. Wanting to visit the laval fields of Landmannalaugar, I insisted that we left route 1 and travel on mountain pass F208. Along the way, we found out that a giant 4WD would have been necessary to drive across a river to get to Landmannalaugar, so it was impossible to get there on our Toyotal Corolla Wagon. We finally arrived at Holaskjol at about midnight and slept in our vehicle. Although we failed to get to the lava fields, the drive along route F208 was incredibly awesome. That drive offered us a glimpse of the most extra-terrestrial landscape of our trip.
What's really great:
An amazing clear bluish-green lake at Pingvellir
Coincidentally, it was June 21, day of the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year. The arctic sun was particularly beautiful that day (I refrain from saying night since we enjoyed 24 hours of sunlight daily for the entire week that we were in Iceland).
The Golden Circle
Fjallabak Nature Reserve
Seljalandsfoss - with a walking path behind the falls
Holaskjol (camping site offering some rooms)
Land of the Midnight Sun - at Fjallabak Nature Reserve