- The Golden Circle – Iceland
- Day 3 – Thursday 15th March 2018
So today we left Reykjavik and headed for the historical Pingvellir National Park with the site of the Silfra rift which marks the crest of the mid-Atlantic Ridge, creating the convergence of the North America and Eurasian tectonic plate.
The collision of these two plates is the cause of many earthquakes in the area.
The unique landmark in this valley can be seen as cracks, faults and includes the largest one as a canyon – Almannagja.
We then headed to Haukadulur valley which is home to a geothermal area with over 40 geysers, hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles – an egg like smell of sulphur fills the air.
This area is famous for its hot spring Geysir. Geysir has been dormant for many years with the exception of renewed activity in 2000 after an eruption at Mount Hekla.
Its neighbour, the geyser Strokkur, erupts every 10 minutes or so and is by far the areas main attraction.
After this we decided to go check out Gullfoss, or The Golden Waterfall as it’s sometimes called as on sunny days the water takes on a golden-brown colour.
Gullfoss is found on the Hvita River canyon. The water in Hvita River travels from the glacier Langjokull.
As you first approach the falls, the edge is obscured from view, so that it appears that the river simply vanishes into the earth.
Then it hits you. Gullfoss is a breathtaking icon of Iceland’s natural beauty and we stand in awe just experiencing her in all her glory.
She is a breathtaking two-tiered waterfall, plummeting down around 32 metres into a gaping canyon void.
The spectacular views of the forces and beauty of untouched nature stands before us.
Next we head to Crater Kerid. This volcanic crater lake is located in the Grimsnees area.
It is usually filled with milky blue-green water amid stark black and deep red slopes of volcanic rock. But today we had pure ice but utterly spectacular all the same.
In Iceland you can’t just have a stunning lake, no way, it also has to be inside a volcanic caldera!!
As if our day hadn’t been busy enough we decided to leave here and go on an evening hike in the Reykjadalur valley to bathe in a hot river. Yes I did say to hike…in the evening…in Iceland…in winter…in the middle of the mountains…TO BATHE IN A RIVER! If the Islandic can do it then so too can the Scot’s (and Irish).
So off we headed in heavy(ish) rain for an approximate 3k hike which should take us one hour maximum, almost entirely uphill at 6.30 in the evening. Now considering it gets dark around 8pm I was slightly concerned but onwards and upwards we headed.
As we got three quarters of the way up lots of ice appeared on the paths so movement was slow.
We were heading up….everyone else was heading down. My trusty companion reassured me though that we are well used to this and these conditions and we have the appropriate kit (read:head torches and waterproofs, oh and a whistle!).
So upwards we went. We began to see the steam rising, smelt the sulphur in the air.
And then we hit our spot…we were the only ones there…imagine that!
So after quickly undressing and dressing into our bathing costumes we hit the geothermal river…and screamed…let’s just say the water was not geothermal!!
Now on a summers day I believe it would be but this water was travelling over ice, down snowy banks, how did we not think of that before we began our hike.
So we quickly dried off or as best we could dry off in the rain…shivering whilst dressing…but laughing all the same.
Sorry guys NO BATHING PHOTOS being published I am hanging on to my last bit of dignity for now! But this is what we were bathing in….for seconds may I add!
…then downwards we sprinted in the dark!!
Still no Northern Lights to be seen…but tomorrow is another day.
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Think you would find the Thermal Springs in Rotarua a bit tame after Iceland Mary