We arrived in Reykjavik very late and ended up sleeping in our rental car because we screwed up our hostel reservation. It was certainly better than nothing but not much since the sun only really sets for around 3 hours this time of year here.
Our first day was extraordinarily busy and we ended up hitting a lot of the major things to do, the names of which are incredibly hard to remember because they are all in Icelandic.
Because we did not sleep much, we were out and about around 8 A.M. We grabbed breakfast at a bakery downtown then set out for Hallgrimskirkja, the tallest building in downtown Reykjavik. It also just so happens to be a church. The trip to the top of the belltower was a little cramped in a tiny elevator but the view was certainly worth it.
After our trip to the top, we decided that today was a good day to do the 'Golden Circle,' a three hour loop around the southwest of iceland with stops at many of the famous natural landmarks in the country.
First up was Thingvellir, the site where the North American and European plates meet (actually they are pulling apart from each other, making it possible for Iceland to exist). Essentially, when tectonic plates pull apart, they cause magma to be pulled towards the surface where it may or may not create a lot of volcanoes. In Iceland, that is the reason why it is has only existed above the water for 8 million years.
The park itself was very easy to get to and the hikes to the different interesting parts of the park were very easy and short.
Next up (after a long lunch detour) was Geysir, an active geothermal area around 40 minutes from thingvellir. This is where the name 'geyser' comes from even though the original Geysir now only goes off after earthquakes. There is still the Strokkur geyser which erupts every 8 minutes or so and is quite large as well.
This was definitely the highlight of the day for me. This waterfall is really too much for words to describe so photos will have to do I guess. If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are 2000 on this waterfall.