The Golden Circle: Iceland Day Two

Our  second day in Iceland started perfectly with a traditional Icelandic Breakfast at the Alba House, where we were staying.  Fresh, warm bread, yogurt, boiled eggs and more lined a buffet and suffice to stay after packing four days worth of granola bars and crackers we were pleasasntly surprised by the free spread.  I digress.

We spent the second day exploring the Golden Circle, a ring road leading to may of the country’s natural treasures: Gulfoss, Haulaudar, Faxi Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park.

Gulfoss

Gulfoss is a beautiful frozen waterfall that has been designated as a nature reserve since 1979.  In its history, Gulfoss has been threatened many times by the prospect of placing a power plant on the property but still remains in its natural state today.  It was formed by flash flooding and the water forced its way through cracks and a layer of lava.  In fact, it’s powerful enough to fill sixty transportation containers in one second! 

When we got out of the car, we couldn’t believe how cold it was!  While Rejkavik is actually warmer than home, by the waterfall with the mist and wind working together, we froze.  Nonetheless it was beautful and we climbed several flights of stairs to see it from the top.  Here, we enjoyed a nice, creamy hot chocolate before moving on to our next site. 

  

Active Valley of Haulaudar

Next, we stopped to see some very active geysers.  The first, Strokkur, has been errupting every 10-15 minutes since 1963 and the day we saw it, it was more like 5-10.  This geyser is unique because it boils right at the surface, different from an average geyser which boils at around 16 meters below.  This creates a globe of boiling water before erupting.

Photo by Ryan Mueller

Finally, we ended our trip wtih a quick dip into a mini museum and a walk up to the top of the mountain to view all of the geysers.

Thingvellir National Park

Next we drove into the national park which was a very scenic and slow drive for us!  This park is internationally known as one of the best diving spots in the world where people can explore in between  the tectonic plates.  Literally translating into “the parliament plains”, Thingvellir is also home to the country’s first governing body who met here from 930 AD-1798.  They were known as the Alping.  Today, the prime minister’s summer home(see photo) can be found on the site.

 

Photo by Ryan Mueller
 
Peace, love and history.

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