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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Golden Circle: Þingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss

ICELAND | Saturday, 16 June 2007 | Views [10955] | Comments [2]

There goes Strokkur!

There goes Strokkur!

            I had perhaps the most exciting day of my adventures in Iceland. I woke up early and took a shower and then fell back asleep. I got up at 7:45 and washed up and packed my stuff. I went downstairs and got breakfast; having the same stuff as usual. I sat with Michael, whom I shared a room with last night. Last night when we were sharing travel stories, he showed me the perfect postcard shot of a whale’s tail. He had told me that in Húsavik, there were like 15 whales spotted. I may have to save Húsavik for my next trip here. After breakfast, I walked to the currency exchange place, but they were closed. Anyway, I started walking to Ísak’s house. I took the long route because I wanted to see more and because I had to burn some time. I got to his house at 10:50 and he was almost ready. An interesting thing I noticed about their house is that it is partially underground. After a few minutes at his house, we were off. We stopped at the bank so I could cash a traveler’s check, but they were closed. So, we drove to another one. I cashed a check and then we got lunch at Burger King. A large 6-piece chicken tenders meal cost me 822 kronur (about $13). It’s more than double what I would pay back home. I noticed that they have TGI Friday’s here! After lunch, we stopped for gas and then we were off to Þingvellir. As we began our drive away from Reykjavik and into the countryside, I realized how wonderful the landscape is! It is like the closest thing to the Moon. I noticed snow on the mountains, the smell of sulfur from geothermal activity, and absolutely nothing around us! Awhile up the road, I got out for some photos. It was windy and very cold! Before I came here, I dreamed of riding my bike around Iceland, but it is far too wild for that. Maybe when I get more used to the cold, I will attempt it. We then kept driving through miles of desolate landscape. In the distance, I saw Þingvallavatn, which meant we were close to Þingvellir. We got to Þingvellir at about 1:30 and we walked around the visitor center for a few minutes. I read a little bit about the separation of the tectonic plates, because it is in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. I was reading before I came to Iceland that you can go scuba diving in Þingvallavatn, right between the two tectonic plates. Ísak has a muscle condition in his legs, so he is unable to hike long distances. I walked down the trail a little bit, and I was really impressed! It is beautiful and I could see why the Alþing would meet here. I was also standing right between two continents. Politically, Iceland is part of Europe, but geologically, it is part of both Europe and North America. While I was taking a picture up on one of the rocks, I saw a nice couple that I was talking to on my flight here. After that I walked down to another area and continued to snap pictures. Every time I travel, I’m trying to nail that postcard image. This area is essentially an amphitheatre! There was a tiny church and some other buildings that I also took photos of. As I walked back up the trail, I saw that couple again. They asked me “How do you like Iceland?” I told them it’s fantastic! Up at the lookout, I got a photo of me in one of the cracks, so it looks like I rose from the Earth. We spent about an hour at Þingvellir. I then offered Ísak money for gas to go to Geysir and Gulfoss. He agreed and then we were off; driving even deeper into Iceland. A few minutes into our drive, we stopped at a lookout and I got out for a few photos of the magnificent landscape. Near that point was the main crack that separated the two plates. As we drove closer to Laugarvatn, we could see the volcano Hekla in the distance. Ísak told me that he and his family go to Laugarvatn every summer. It is really beautiful out here. The drive to Geysir took about 45 minutes. At the Geysir center, we walked around for a few minutes and then I was anxious to get to the geyser field. On the way up the trail, I watched Strokkur go off. Geysir is the geyser that all other of the world’s geysers are named after, but it rarely erupts nowadays. Strokkur, however erupts every few minutes. I walked past the steam vents and up to Strokkur, and I noticed that some people had got wet from Strokkur’s eruption. I had my camera ready as I was waiting and after a few minutes, it went off. I didn’t get the best picture at first, but I got a great video of the geyser blowing its top. I then walked up to the great Geysir. I thought for a split second that maybe it would go off while I’m here. An interesting thing about this geyser field is that it doesn’t stink like Whakarewarewa in New Zealand. I got a picture in front of the pool of Geysir. I then walked up to this hot pool that had a lot of coins in it. I threw 1 kronur into it, but this guy picked on me. I thought this was like the Trevi Fountain, where you could make a wish to return to Iceland. A deep sense of happiness descended over me, because I fulfilled another of my 100 travel goals, and I’ve now seen 2 of the world’s great geysers. I kept snapping pictures, but my battery was running low, and I needed to save it for Gulfoss. At about 3:15, we were off to our third stop of the day. Ísak wanted to rest in the car while I walked around Gulfoss, and he told me to take my time. The drive from Geysir to Gulfoss was only about 10 minutes. At the shop, I got myself a Coca-Cola Light and then started walking down to Gulfoss. In the distance, I could see Langjökull, which is one of Iceland’s giant glaciers. The waterfall is incredible! It thunders down into the canyon like an incredible force of nature. I was shooting pictures from every angle. While I was down there, I saw the Japanese family that I went on the Greenland tour with. I’ve seen two families in two different places, and that shows that Iceland doesn’t get many visitors. I continued to walk around the waterfall, and I noticed the exact same image that’s on my Lonely Planet book! It’s so cool to get a picture like that. I saw the scene, and I kept thinking that I’ve seen this place before. In some places, I got photos where I’m right next to the waterfall and some where it’s behind me. I then walked down to this grassy area where I could get another good view of the waterfall. Altogether, I took like 50 pictures while walking everywhere around Gulfoss. I did not want to leave! I spent well over an hour before walking back up to the car. I wanted to call about my bags, but Ísak had no minutes on his cell phone. I went inside to call, but the line was busy. So, Ísak said we could stop at Geysir and call. Before we left, I got some photos of Langjökull. We then started the drive back. We stopped at the Geysir center to call about my bags, but their phones were out of order. I did get an Iceland souvenir coin that has Strokkur on the reverse. I haven’t bought that many souvenirs here. Earlier I asked Ísak if we could take a different road back, so I could see different scenery. As we were driving, I was admiring Iceland’s beautiful countryside, which reminded me much of New Zealand. We stopped in Laugarvatn to call about my bags, but the line was busy again. This really sucks about my bags! It really messed up my plans, but it’s not ruining my trip. I’ve had heaps of fun! I really wanted a photo of Hekla, but it was covered in clouds and it started to rain. I’ve really seen nothing but clouds since I got here. We were driving on the road toward Selfoss (town). We turned off the road just before Selfoss and stopped in Hveragerði for some stuff to drink. We had to be back by 7:00 because Ísak had to go to dinner with his family. We were also supposed to pick up Þorbjörg, but she took the bus home. Right outside Reykjavik, we saw a pole with smashed up cars hanging from it; the actual cars from fatal accidents this year. One thing I’ve noticed in Iceland is that people tend to drive very erratically…much like LA! We got back to Ísak’s house at about 7:00 and we had some time to relax after a long and exciting day. Ísak told me earlier that he wants to do a trip around Iceland next summer. I told him that I’d love to join him. I checked my email and looked at buses to Skaftafell National Park, which is where I might head tomorrow. After a little while, I got dropped off at the Salvation Army, and there were no rooms available. I relaxed and fell asleep on the couch for awhile and then walked to this other guesthouse; the Domus Guesthouse. It was Saturday night, so people were running the runtur. I booked a dorm bed, but it was 3,400 kronur; far more than I wanted to pay. The girl at reception wasn’t very nice to me, either. If I had my tent, I could just go camping. I went to my bunk, but I must say I don’t like this place! It doesn’t have the friendly feeling of the Salvation Army. Well, I’m exhausted and I hope to go to Skaftafell tomorrow. It’s National Day tomorrow, so I want to celebrate. See you then!

Tags: Adventures

Comments

1

I think that this picture is cool?

  Carrie harris Apr 17, 2008 1:14 AM

2

Fabulous review, very detailed! Thank you for adding the information about travel times and approximately how much time you spent at each place, valuable info!

  robin Nov 28, 2011 4:00 AM

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