Destinations Magazine

Golden Circle Pt. Two

By Laurawh77 @travladventurer

golden circleday2TYPE GOLDEN CIRCLE PT. TWO

After the falls, we went on to the next location, the valley of Haukadalur which houses some of the most interesting geothermal activity in Iceland – the Geysir. Don’t you mean “Geyser” you might ask. But nope, this is the Geysir – the first of it’s kind and the one which all other Geysers would be named after. The word Geysir comes from the Icelandic verb geysa meaning “to gush”. And that is exactly what we were about to see.

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As we walked along the valley we saw many pools of hot, bright blue water. Static on the ground but with the ominous feeling that any moment it could simply erupt.

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As we made our way through the unmoving pools of water, we came to the famous Geysir. The water sat bubbling on top of the earth, pulsating and throbbing, waiting for the moment when the earth sucked the water down slightly for a moment and then in the next – “BOOM” – the water exploded from the earth and shot up all around us.

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We stood there for awhile watching all the explosions. They came about every five minutes and each one was a little different. We also saw the little Geysir on the way out which bubbled and burst gently, a mere fraction of the power of the large Geysir but adorable nonetheless.

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Onward we went on our journey throughout the Icelandic countryside. We past by farm houses, small villages, tree farms and even summer houses. The landscape was ever changing and yet at the same time so unique from anywhere else I had been and even the most simple of views I took in with awe and amazement.

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We stopped for a few moments at Kerið, a volcanic crater lake sitting in the middle of the Grímsnes valley. This crater was created from a volcanic explosion hundreds of years ago when the lava spewed forth from this giant hole in the earth and created the landscape we stood at now. After the explosion the magma would have been sucked back down into the ground and created the crater you see here now. The water at the bottom of the crater is not rain water at all, but simply the water level of this area. In the distance we could see more mountains and our guide told us that at certain times of the year you can see the mountains exploding with lava, but from a safe and perfectly suitable viewing distance.

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As we made our way home, a few of us saw a herd of horses grazing by the side of the road and our wonderful guide, knowing these horses well, stopped the bus and allowed us to get out and meet the horses. This was an impromptu stop but our guide was so nice about it and even told us a bit about these horses. They were unique Icelandic horses which are genetically the exactly same bread as the ones brought over by the Vikings at the dawn of Iceland’s history. They were never cross bread with any other kind of horse and are truly one of Iceland’s own unique gems.

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Our last stop of the day was at the Geothermal Power Station near Nesjavellir. We were taken up the mountains and into the very belly of the beast. Even from far away, we could see the steam rising off the mountain tops and disappearing into the sky.

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Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station is the second largest geothermal power station in Iceland. Boreholes are drilling into the ground to release the pressure built up by the hot magma lava beneath the surface. This steam that is released from the boreholes is then transferred into pipes and is used to harness energy and power the land around it. We were lucky enough to be able to drive right up to one of the borehole station and see, only from meters away the steam poring from the boreholes. You could feel the earth shake beneath you and the warmth that even this excess steam produced. The steam was so think that it didn’t seem to dissipate until long after hundreds of feet in the air. It was so dense it almost appeared to be like the borehole was expelling large burst of cotton balls spewing all over the place.

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As we went on our way home we passed by these hills where the moss and lichen that grew along the surface of the valleys had been vandalized and someone had carved their names into the moss. These pieces of living graffiti were done in the 1920′s and are stillvery visible today. This is proof of how slowly the process of growth takes in Iceland.

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