A Travellerspoint blog

August 2016

The Geothermal Interior

Iceland - Geysir

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The final day in Iceland was to cover the most interior we would go. Passing back through Þingvellir we made our way to Geysir, the town that gave it's name to the geyser, where geothermality is in action.

Upon arrival the smell of sulphur was evident, with several hot pools and geysers simmering away. Although Geysir is named after the Geysir geyser, it is actually the Strokkur geyser that is featured on all the pictures. Whilst Geysir is the largest, it erupts just a few times per day, meanwhile the smaller Strokkur, still over 20m tall, erupts every few minutes.

Strokkur at Geysir

Strokkur at Geysir

Waiting around we quickly saw the full strength of the geyser before making our way back the gift shop and onwards to our next stop, the final iconic Icelandic destination - Gullfoss.

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss is a humongous three stage waterfall which dwarfs the hundreds of tourists that come to visit. As with most things in Iceland, it is easy to get up close and so the rocky headland around which the waterfall circles is a perfect place to witness the power of the falls.

Inside the Kerið volcanic crater

Inside the Kerið volcanic crater

Enjoying the beautiful view we then made our way south towards Kerið, a large former volcano with its crater now filled by a lake, with both a path around the top as well as around the lake.

Hellisheiðarvirkjun Geothermal Power Plant

Hellisheiðarvirkjun Geothermal Power Plant

After seeing everything we had planned, we then stopped en route back to the apartment at Hveragerði, a geothermal town, as well as the Hellisheiðarvirkjun geothermal power plant before heading back to the apartment for the final evening of the holiday. Having been told all week the smelly sulphuric water was clean enough to drink I was beginning to wonder if maybe it wasn't as bad as I had feared. Whilst taking a shower, I forgot to take off my silver ring, however after less than ten minutes it had turned to gold! Maybe I was right after all...

Bit of light driving

Bit of light driving

The following morning we got up nice and early to finally drop of the car after almost 800 miles in the last four days, and after no problems made our way to the airport for the flight home after four amazing days in the stunning country. Despite the high costs of the place - hotels, drinks, food (breakfast and lunch for two for three days = £40) etc, it was definitely worth it.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Iceland Tagged waterfall geothermal geysir Comments (0)

Parliaments and glittery niqabs

Iceland - Reykjavik

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After two early starts and a very busy day previously, it was finally time for a lie in and a more relaxed day.

Harpa

Harpa

Despite staying in the capital for two days already, we were only just making our way into the city centre to take a look around. Starting on Laugavegur - the main shopping street, we made our way along to the harbour, visiting the Harpa concert hall and the flee market, before heading into the old city centre.

Parliament

Parliament

Buying some souvenirs we then arrived at the Parliament, a very small town hall sized building, lost amongst the taller surrounding buildings, before heading back towards Laugavegur and Hallgrim's Cathedral.

Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja

The cathedral is situated behind a statue of Leif Erikson, the first man to make it to the Americas, and was finished less than thirty years ago. A tower inside gives great views of the city, and after taking a look around we walked back to the car paying a nominal amount for our car parking and having lunch back at the apartment.

Leif Erikson Statue

Leif Erikson Statue

Having a little rest we then headed back into the car and out of the city to the Þingvellir National Park, for a walk around the rift valley where the original parliament was located in the 10th century. Heading back to the apartment for dinner we then went out again to the city for a few drinks. Two drinks, around two thirds of the UK size quickly added up to £18 and after breaking the bank, we headed to a pub with live music.

Þingvellir

Þingvellir

Not knowing what to expect, we were quickly bombarded by a drag act blasting out her own composition of synth in Icelandic. Thirty minutes later the next act came out in a silver glittery niqab. As she started singing, it quickly became clear that this was the same person. Saturday nights in Iceland. What a time to be alive!

Catching the last bus back we had just one day of the holiday left to go.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Iceland Tagged nature history city cathedral parliament geology Comments (0)

The Land Of Water And Ice

Iceland - South Coast

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In the planning for the holiday there was always going to be one long day to the eastern side of the island, 4½ hours by road away - and we had aimed to have this on our first full day in order to leave the rest of the holiday more relaxing and enjoyable.

Getting up early we left the apartment by 7:30am and headed straight away towards Eyjafjallajökull - the infamous volcano that caused travel chaos in Spring 2010. Around this volcano was not only beautiful scenery, but also some super impressive waterfalls.

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

The first was the fairytale Seljalandsfoss - a large waterfall dropping into a pool, with a walkway behind. A little further up the road was Gljúfrafoss, a waterfall inside a canyon, giving it a mystical dark feel.

Gljúfrafoss

Gljúfrafoss


Drive past Eyjafjallajökull

Drive past Eyjafjallajökull

After the short break we continued up the road to the other side of the volcano and Skógafoss, a large waterfall that crashes to the floor.

Skógafoss

Skógafoss


Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón

After these short breaks we continued up the ring road making a petrol stop en route before another hefty drive and our goal point, the stunning Jökulsárlón - a glacial lake at the bottom of Vatnajökull, the largest icecap in non-Arctic Europe. Even in summer, the lake is filled with melting glacial icebergs that sit metres from the road, surrounded by sea lions and tourists on boat tours.

Vatnajökull

Vatnajökull

Taking in the stunning views we then headed back towards Reykjavik stopping off on the other side of Vatnajökull at the hexagonal waterfall of Svartifoss.

Svartifoss

Svartifoss

Our last stop on the drive back, roughly halfway, was the hilltop peninsula of Dyrhólaey. After a bit of off road driving we made it to the top for views of the coast and the black beaches before the sunset.

Dyrhólaey

Dyrhólaey

Finally heading back down we then made the trip back to the apartment in Reykjavik after a 14 hour day, and a well earned lie in the following morning.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Iceland Tagged waterfalls water beach ice hill icebergs Comments (0)

The Bridge Between Continents

Icy Iceland - Grindavik

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Despite having first attempted to visit Iceland back in 2008, it had taken me eight years and 60 countries later to finally make it there. And wasn't it worth it!

After many failed attempts, I eventually made the way to the north with my friend John, and after heavy planning we had decided to base ourselves in Reykjavik for four nights, hiring a car to drive around to see the beautiful country.

After avoiding the horrific traffic up to the airport to make our early flight, we took the three hour flight to Keflavik Airport in Iceland. Upon arrival and after a bit of confusion we finally got transferred to our hire car company's office and eventually got given our car.

With a bit of anticipation in the lead up to the trip, I was pleasantly surprised to find that driving on the opposite side of the road was relatively easy and straight forward - just a little confusing when you need to change gears after a while, with the stick on the opposite side!

Miðlina

Miðlina

With the time now being around 11am, with check in not until 4pm, we headed towards out first sight, the Miðlina continent bridge.

The Bridge to North America

The Bridge to North America

The bridge is symbolic of Iceland's place as the bridge between Europe and North America, and on one of the rifts between the plate boundaries, a bridge has been built where you can cross between the continents themselves with signs welcoming you on each side.

Welcome to North America

Welcome to North America

After a quick visit we then moved on to the day's main attraction - the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon was originally an outlet of waste water from the local power plant but has been transformed into a relaxing spa retreat with water around 38˚C. After prebooking our tickets we turned up to spend a few hours relaxing in the silica and sulphuric water amongst a backdrop of the black rocky Icelandic landscape.

On our way to the hotel to check in, we also stopped by Perlan, six former water storage tanks renovated with a viewing deck on top with views over the city.

Views of Reykjavik

Views of Reykjavik

We then finally, after a long day, made our way to the hotel to check in, before dropping our things and grabbing some dinner and food for the next few days.

With a long day planned tomorrow, it was finally time for some rest!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Iceland Tagged bridge city island continent geothermal Comments (0)