Golden Circle

Today we hit the “big three” tourist attractions in Iceland’s Golden Circle: Geysir, Gullfoss and Þingvellir.

First stop was the thermal area of Haukadalur, where the geyser Strokkur erupts every 10 minutes or so.  The children were most impressed.  I have tried to upload a video here with no success.  However, I also got a half-way decent still shot, including The Dad taking a photo of me taking a photo, and Fainjin looking on:

You can see the bubbles (light blue) rising below the surface of the water. This is a split-second before the geyser erupts.

You can see the bubbles (light blue) rising below the surface of the water. This is a split-second before the geyser erupts.

And thar she blows! You can see the spray from a big eruption still falling as a smaller one goes. This taken from further away than the first photo.

And thar she blows! You can see the spray from a big eruption still falling as a smaller one goes. This taken from further away than the first photo.

Geysir, the geyser that all others are named after, doesn’t erupt much any more, but was steaming away merrily and looking quite full.

Gullfoss, the golden falls, was the next stop for us.  Last time we were here, there was no safety rope along the walkway and I didn’t go very close because it was wet and windy and scary.  This time it was sunny and not quite as windy and the psychological effect of the safety rope was very reassuring.

The size & power of the falls are astonishing.

The size & power of the falls are astonishing.

This time I walked all the way to the top of that rocky bit sticking out into the falls.

This time I walked all the way to the top of that rocky bit sticking out into the falls.

The children promptly terrified me by jumping gleefully over the slippery wet rocks, mere metres from certain death.  It is very hard to see the bottom of the falls, there is so much spray thrown up in the chasm.  Fainjin was a bit miffed that the spray made his glasses wet.

A restorative snack in the cafe later, we were on the road again towards Þingvellir. On the way we tried to give the children an appreciation for the historical significance of the site – the world’s first parliament meeting in 930AD, the reading of the laws, the declaration 70 years ago of Iceland as an independent republic… the kids were more interested in the geology, quite frankly.  I suppose that is a lot more visible.  Babess was particularly taken by the idea of the tectonic plates moving slowly apart and being able to “see the edges” in the cliffs.

It was raining quite hard though, so we didn’t linger.  We’re staying not far away, and we’ll probably go through the valley again, so if it’s fine we’ll stop for a longer look.

Babess said, "Take a photo of the tectonic plate, Mummy, so I can send it to my class at school!"

Babess said, “Take a photo of the tectonic plate, Mummy, so I can send it to my class at school!”

Meanwhile, the children have been enchanted by the number of Icelandic horses we have seen already on our travels – they are everywhere – and Fainjin is keeping a sharp eye out for trolls.  He tells me they are very clever at disguising themselves as rocks, and their green hair looks just like moss.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

 

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3 Responses to “Golden Circle”

  1. darwinontherocks Says:

    Nice post! I have one question, did you have to pay to visit Geysir ? I’ve read somewhere that the entrance is not free anymore, is it true ?

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