Geysir, Gullfoss, Þingvellir
The hotel in Geysir was full - a geophysics conference was being
held there - and they suggested we'd have to drive ten kilometres to
Brattholt. But the guesthouse just next door was still operating and
nearly empty, and 4700 króna got us a room with bedding.
As soon as we'd settled in we went to check out the geothermal area just
over the road. The eponymous Geysir is now dormant, but Strokkur next
door goes off every eight or ten minutes, shooting up over twenty metres.
It was raining and we got rather damp, as did Camilla's poor camera
(though it came to no harm).
Dinner was a cup of soup, cheese and ryvita, and spaghetti with baked
beans, bolognese sauce, and some dried fish. Afterwards we went for
another look at Strokkur and got wet again. Our room was full of damp
clothing and equipment laid out to dry.
Tuesday 2nd September
The first thing we did in the morning was go to the geothermal area again
- it was too early for the tour buses, so it was just us and two other
couples staking out Strokkur.
It was mesmerising watching Strokkur. The seething water sloshes from
side to side, overflowing the caldera a bit then retreating, then the
blue bubble forms, and finally the steam blasts through that. There are
several smaller after-blasts, then a wait while the water flows back in.
In addition to the big geysirs, the area has a good collection of
fumaroles, bubbling mud, coloured pools, algae and mud encrusted flows,
and so forth.
After breakfast we headed off to Gullfoss. This is spectacular - a huge
waterfall in two stages, at nearly ninety degrees to one another -
but it was hard to appreciate properly, or to photograph, in rain and
strong wind. (If it had been dry it would be a lovely place just to
sit and admire.) We stopped again at Geysir on the way back, where it
was fortunately dry.
Strokkur from a distance
Camilla tried to close the car door on me, but fortunately I had my
whole arm in it, not just a finger, so I only got a bruise.
We took the direct route to Þingvellir, on the unsealed road. We stopped
at the information centre to try to ring Anna and have a coffee. They had
a good collection of books here, and I bought Works Along the Way.
The historic area of Þingvellir is a lovely peaceful place - a green
plain, through which the river Öxará flows into the lake Þingvallavatn,
bordered by an escarpment rifted by ravines. There's a picturesque
church, Þingvallakirkja, and the ruined "booths" of the goðar.
our lunch spot
We visited the Law Rock and had lunch by a small creek. We then wandered
up to the viewpoint at the top of the main rift, where there's a new
multi-media centre - not usually my kind of thing, but this one was
nicely done. On the way back to car it started raining.
As we were leaving we saw an encounter between two groups of geese
(about seven in each). They ran at each other aggressively, and there
was some to-ing and fro-ing before one group moved off up the hillside.
Þingvellir would have been a lovely area
to camp in and spend a few days exploring, if we'd had more time and
the weather had been a bit better.
Next: Reykjanes - Grindavik + Blue Lagoon
Previous: Dyrhólaey, Kerið, Reykholt
[Alternative spellings: Thingvellir]