the parking lot for gullfoss was in view of the lángjökull glacier, the source of the waterfall. gullfoss has two drops, neither of which are particularly impressive alone, but its the volume of water, width of the river, the setting of the gorge, the mist that gets kicked up, etc. that is really magical. even X seemed mesmerized.
afternoon: we ate lunch at the gulfoss visitors center cafe as there was no other civilization for miles. we each had a bowl of traditional lamb stew. and it was good. then X was ready for a nap, so we drove past the famous geysir (all other geysers in the world are named after this one) which looked steamy but VERY touristy. i was bummed to have skipped it, but it was a necessity for keeping things running smoothly.
we drove through the town of selfoss on our way out to our farm stay in vatnsholt. what a great place. there is a big playground area for kids, the owners are super friendly, and there are friendly animals everywhere. X hung out with the 6 dogs, 1 calf, 3 goats, 1 cat, 1 raven, 1 baby fox, and many chickens, ducks, horses, etc. there were also sticks and rocks to her hearts content, and a trampoline. this place was heaven to her. also, we had a whole living space all to ourselves (normally the bedroom is yours and you would share a communal living room, kitchen, and bathroom). sidenote: if you type in "vatnsholt" to youtube and you can find a few random videos of the animals and owners.
while X met the animals and got acquainted, i went into selfoss for some snacks. the health food store heilsuhúsið had a few good things and i topped off the trip with a grocery stop at bónus. finally a grocery store that was big and stocked well enough to convince me that real people could shop there for their daily food.
evening: dinner at the farm was decent but it wasnt as speedy as i had hoped for with our grumbling tummies. our snacks had bridged the gap but by dinner time we really needed real food, on time. they had made tomato soup, pork schnitzel (i ate this) and fish (dave ate this) and dessert was a warm applesauce-type dish that was loved by all. after dinner we saw the animals again and headed in for bathing and bedtime.
(X on the farm with the playground in the background; hanging with some of the dogs; trampoline bounces!; ambient midnight light from our back porch. a view of the eyjafjallajökull volcano)
the farm was fairly isolated from other buildings or signs of civilization and thus gave great views of the two volcanoes in the distance (last years famous eyjafjallajökull and another active one called hekla; 180 km away was this years famous grímsvötn, which we couldnt see but the owners said the ash plume, even from this distance away, looked like an atomic bomb had gone off), the sky, the land, the hills. everything. a great spot.