Iceland, Travels

Golden Circle

Strokkur Erupting It was my last full day in Iceland today, and it was a busy one. I took a tour into the inner parts of Iceland called the Golden Circle tour. We visited lots of beautiful places that are kind of a must see when you visit Iceland.

We started off by visiting Fridheimar cultivation centre. Which is a new stop on the tour, sight wise it might not be as spectacular as a big glacier or a waterfall but it’s very interesting to see how they grow pesticide free tomatoes and cucumbers with the help of geothermal heat (and bumblebees from The Netherlands!).

You find that here a lot; things that are run by geothermal heat, the shower in my hotel room uses it too and even though I had to get used to the smell at first, you don’t smell it at all after a few minutes and it seems to be very good for my hair and skin too. It’s so soft and smooth thanks to the natural geothermal water.

After exploring the cultivation centre and enjoying some home made, delicious tomato soup it was time to head to our next stop; Gullfoss. Gullfoss (Golden Fall) is a huge waterfall where the river Hvita drops about 30 m down. It’s enormous and it made me feel so small. I walked all the way up to the far end of it to get some beautiful photographs and the thundering sound of the water plunging into the depths is deafening but it also made me respect the force that is Mother Nature once more. It is a truly amazing sight to see and a real recommendation to visit when you’re in Iceland. I looked up to the surrounding mountains and they were covered with glaciers. I would have loved to take an adventurous walk onto the glaciers but unfortunately I have too little time this time around, I’ll have to come back for that some day!

From Gullfoss we drove a short distance to go see the hot springs. You just can’t miss them when you’re in Iceland. It’s pretty much what everyone thinks of when thinking of Iceland. One of the biggest hot springs in this area is Strokkur, it shoots up at least 25 m into the sky every 5 to 10 minutes. You have to have your cameras at the ready to be able to capture it, which isn’t easy but it pays to try because it will get you some beautiful photographs.

I was asked by an American couple to take their photo in front of Strokkur, and just as I was about to take some photos, Strokkur erupted and they ended up with some amazing photos of them together in front of a shooting Strokkur. It’s all about luck and timing but I was really happy it worked out so well for them!

Strokkur isn’t the biggest hot spring in this area, that’s Geysir which shoots about 70 m up in the sky. Unfortunately Geysir very rarely erupts these days, if at all. People have been throwing all kinds of things in it to make it erupt sooner to get their photos and videos and it seems to be clogged up. Cleaning it out is a very dangerous job, it might just erupt as soon as some of the clutter is taken out and with that kind of heat you don’t want to be so close, not even in a protective suit.

Iceland is not only a reminder to me of the power of Mother Nature, it also represents her beauty. Nature here is raw, untouched and very beautiful. Being here is a constant reminder why I try to be as eco friendly as I can and why I try and protect our planet. Places like this are worth protecting, there is no planet B.

Which brings me to the last stop of today’s tour; Pingvellir National Park. It’s impossible to describe, you have to see it, it’s just so breathtaking and beautiful. So I’ll let the photos do all the talking.

Pingvellir National Park

Pingvellir is where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart a few centimetres a year. You can still walk on both continents though. So one minute you’re standing on the European continent and the next you’re on the American. If you think about it too much it seems very surreal but it’s just an experience in itself.

Today’s tour was just absolutely amazing. It was a long day with a lot of places to visit but it was definitely worth it. It is a very good way to see a lot of all that Iceland has to offer in a short amount of time. There is still so much more to see but tours like this give a good impression of what the country has to offer. Today is something I’ll never forget, it felt so free and so close to nature to walk around in Pingvellir.

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