Saturday, August 02, 2014

Iceland, Day 3: The Golden Circle

On our third and final day in Iceland, we drove around the famed Golden Circle.  We didn't always stick to the main roads, but often went off the beaten path and found some fantastic hiking areas and geothermic spots that definitely warrant further visits.  More or less, though, we followed the circle around, just not always on the main roads.

 In the summer, particularly with about 20 degrees Celsius and sun, this place was a dream.  In winter, however, I think some parts are impassable, unless of course you have a snowmobile...
 The blindspot signs are nice!
 Our first stop was on a nearly empty, incredibly beautiful mountainous hiking path.  The weather couldn't have been better, and the scenery was really breathtaking.

 One of our favorite tricks with volcanic rock:  pretending we are strong.
 Of course there was also geothermal activity here, too, and these little moon houses were a part of the pipelines at certain intervals.
 Moss, mountains and snow.  It doesn't get much better than that!

 The pools near the hotspots were always neat with different kinds of crud growing and fermenting inside them.

 I hope you can't tell how scared I am that the Earth will just open up, swallow and boil me perfection here.
 More spooky, bubbly, boiling geothermic areas.
 It really felt a little bit unreal with the mountains, orbs and steam all over!
 A nice steaming pit.  You can't really tell from this photo, but the steaming hole is significantly bigger than a person.  And you could hear the boiling, bubbling water inside.

 The pavement ended, and then...
 ...we came upon this giant, clear, still lake.  I could've just stayed there for the rest of my life.  It was so peaceful!
 My feet are in the water here, that is a shadow.  It kind of looks like I peed my pants, but I didn't.  You just don't see water that clear every day!

 Geysir is one of, if not THE biggest tourist attraction in Iceland.  It was full of Americans.  I actually heard the comment:  "That's, like, all hot water, right?"  And I wanted to go say, "And you should, like, stop wasting your parents' money with trips to expensive hipster locations like this and go home and learn something first, okay?"  Sorry for my bitchiness, I really should have stayed at the cool, clear, silent lake with no people!
 Here's my first shot of the big geysir erupting, we stuck around and saw it go off several times.
 That's probably a wise tip not to drop coins into the geysir, because I think it would hurt like a son of a b*+`? to get hit with a boiling hot bit of metal flung out of an erupting geysir.
 This was the tallest eruption we visited from afar, it was pretty impressive!

 Here I was lucky enough to capture the beginning of an eruption.
 Our final big stop was at Gullfoss, a giant tear in the Earth with incredible masses of water plunging over the edge.  On the left edge of the photo you can see some tiny people for perspective.
 Probably a good idea not to go on the other side of the tiny, delicate cable they have strung up here.

And now, after dinner and returning the car, it's time to head home.  I'd love to have stayed longer, but it's always nice to end a vacation wanting more...then you have ideas for the next trip and pleasant memories of this one!

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