Sunday, October 29, 2017

Iceland Golden Circle: Geysir and Thingvellir National Park [Part 2]

After our stay at the Kerid Lake and Gullfoss Waterfall we continued on Iceland's Golden Circle towards Geysir and the Thingvellir National Park. The drive is very scenic and you spend so much more time could be spent here then one day. But we worked with what we were given. After all, our goal wasn't just to see Iceland's Golden Circle, but also drive around the whole island, on the so called Ring Road. Geysir, sometimes known as The Great Geysir, is a geyser in southwestern Iceland. It was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern European. On the other side Thingvellir is a historic site and national park east of Reykjavik. In this post I will show you both of those places.


This is the map of our drive in this part:




Strokkur geyser

Before we visited the actual Geyser we went to the Strokkur geyser first. The nearby geyser Strokkur erupts much more frequently than Geysir, erupting to heights of up to 30 metres every few minutes. Strokkur's activity has also been affected by earthquakes, although to a lesser extent than the Great Geysir. Due to its eruption frequency, online photos and videos of Strokkur are regularly mislabelled as depicting Geysir. We saw it erupt four times during our visit. Here are a few progress shots:



There are many pools of hot spring water dotted around the site, some of them with mesmerizing crystal blue water. Since these are natural hot springs, the smell of sulfur is in air (smells like rotten eggs). But it's manageable and doesn't overpower the surroundings (something that would happen on a different site, a few days later, but more on that in a later post).


Geysir

The name Geysir is derived from the Icelandic verb geysa which means to gush. The oldest accounts of hot springs at Haukadalur (the place where Geysir is located) date back to 1294, when earthquakes in the area caused significant changes in local neighbouring landscape creating several new hot springs. Before 1896, Geysir was almost dormant before an earthquake that year caused eruptions to begin again, occurring several times a day, lasting up to an hour and causing spouts of up to 60 metres in height. A further earthquake in 2000 revived the geyser again and it reached 122 meters for two days, thus becoming one of the highest known geysers in history. Nowadays its dormant, but who knows what could activate it again.





A Drive through Iceland's Golden Circle

Along Iceland's Golden Circle you will find many prominent destinations, such as the Kerid Lake, Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir National Park. But there are literally hundreds of sights that you can stop for and take a picture of. So did we, when we saw this beautiful cliff-side hotel in a small city. What caught our eye was a double rainbow that was forming over the town. Rainbows are a common sight in Iceland, since the weather keeps changing so much. They are often spotted next to waterfalls.




Thingvellir National Park

Our last stop for the day was the Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir or Þingvellir, which literally means "Parliament Plains" was the place where the Alþing general assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene there until 1798. The Alþingi is the national parliament of Iceland. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at Þingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. Today Þingvellir is a protected national shrine. According to the law, passed in 1928, the protected area shall always be the property of the Icelandic nation, under the preservation of the Alþing.


Besides the old parliament building you will find an amazing waterfall here, the Öxarárfoss Waterfall. You can come really close to it, and stand on the shore of the river that forms underneath. We took these pictures there.


Geologically Thingvellir National Park is most famous because of the divide of the tectonic plates of Euroasia and North America. The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which traverse the region, the largest one, Almannagjá, being a veritable canyon. This also causes the often measurable earthquakes in the area. You can walk through the cracks and climb them to take amazing images of the geological phenomenon.






End of Day

After an eventful first full day in Iceland it was time to head for our Airbnb. It was actually a farm located near Borgarnes. I will show you more of it in the next post. The third post will also take us on the ring road, which starts or journey around the whole country!



End of Part Two
To be continued

20 comments:

  1. Wundervolle Eindrücke und es muss einfach fantastisch sein dem so nah zu kommen. Habt ihr wirklich wieder einen tollen Urlaub gemacht.

    Wünsche noch einen schönen Sonntag und sende viele Grüsse

    N☼va

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    1. Danke vielmals. Freut mich das Dir die Bilder gefallen haben. :)

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  2. Amazing is the only word for these pics. that geyser is so cool. I like the one that shows it as a big bubble, stunning views all around...

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  3. Bei auch sieht man jetzt im Herbst viel weniger Menschen, wie es bei uns in Haupsaison war. Bei der Spalte sind wir leider nicht zu dieser Aussichtspunkt hochgegangen, obwohl wir auch ganz bis zum Ende galufen sind, wir wussten nicht, daß dort nich was ist. Schade.
    Liebe Grüße

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  4. All those geysers remind me of Yellowstone. I like your shots of the geyser eruption in progress. And nice shot of your friends walking through that slot canyon.

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  5. Beautiful pics. It is like our Yellowstone in the USA.

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  6. ...another gorgeous part of the world. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Beautiful photos! It must be like a dream to visit all these places with geysirs and waterfalls. Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Wow! So beautiful. As I read this post, I kept thinking of praise for each photo, but that would make my comment a post in itself. Suffice to say...wow!

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  9. Another great post. I would love to see it all.

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  10. Beautiful set of photos. Scenery from other countries is a treaters I will likely never travel to these places.

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    1. Then I hope you will enjoy this multi-part journey to the North. It was an amazing journey and I hope I can do it justice here.

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  11. gorgeous captures - i have never seen anything so naturally beautiful!! a spectacular rainbow as well!!!

    such a beautiful, wondrous world we live in!!!

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  12. Wow! Awesome geysers and a great rainbow! Fantastic post.

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    1. Yeah, so many rainbows in Iceland. I don't think I have ever seen so many of them in such a small amount of time. In the end it became almost a common thing to have rainbows around you!

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  13. Such an amazing and beautiful place! I would LOVE to go there some time. Great photos.

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  14. amazing sights to see in Iceland! i enjoyed looking at both posts.

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    1. Thank you Pat. I hope to have Part 3 up on Wednesday.

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  15. The scenery looks so wild and beautiful and I'm sure it is. The geysers look alot like our Yellowstone National Park. Beautiful images Mersad.

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  16. Beautiful. Those eruptions would be amazing to see. Such an interesting place to visit.

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