After our previous day's epic walk, we decided to take the long way back to Reykjavik, via Thingvellir. The road crossed epic landscapes that would not be out of place in middle earth. Although the Lord of the Rings films was filmed in New Zealand, Iceland is probably closer to what Tolkien had in mind for middle earth, and you can pikc up echoes of the books in the names and landscape.
Thingvellir is a popular stop on the golden circle tourist route, but don't let that put you off. The geological features, such as the huge chasm, one of many forming the boundary between the north american and european tectonic plates, the views north towards a massive volcano and the interesting history of Iceland's first parliament make this a location with plenty of interest to learn about as view as a fantastic view to soak up. The original settlers must have been hardy folk to journey across Iceland to a place such as this to debate the issues of the day.
After Thingvellir we drove down the rich (by icelandic standards) agricultural valley of Mosdale, to Reykjavik, and the welcome warmth of the outdoor pools by the national stadium in laugardalslaug. The particular pool is a favourite of Tim's as it looks slightly careworn and offers a series of hot tubs of progressively increasing temperature, and a full size pool all outside in the cold winter air. Forget the Blue Lagoon, this is where the locals go to enjoy warm waters.
Following a good soak we headed to Baejarins Bestu (litterally "Best in Town"), and gulped down several pylsa (hotdogs) whist admiring the views of Esja. Although the humble pylsa doesn't even come close to some of the weird food you can get in Iceland, such as a famous Hákarl, the photos of many famous people, and the stream of locals eating there tell you this is a popular place to eat. Having tasted some of the extreme gastronomy on offer, I'd say this is a safe bet if you fancy trying what the local eat.