In Search of the Northern Lights in Iceland travel blog

Geysir Hot Spring Area


Thingviller National Park

Rock Formation at Thingviller

Viewing Platform at Thingviller




When we got to Vik, we asked if this was normal weather for Jan and we were told that it really wasn't. Usually it was colder and snowing. Good thing for us as it really rained all night and, if it was snow, we'd probably be staying longer in Vik. We continued our trip on the Golden Circle and headed out for the highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 meters (100 ft) into the air every 10 minutes or so (not like Old Faithful but just as enjoyable). The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. The "Geysir" is the most famous one but it stopped spouting in 1916. We didn't get to experience the ‘hot spring bread’ and dig up rye bread that has been ‘baking’ underground for 24 hours or where visitors assist a chef to boil eggs outside in a hot spring, maybe next time. Again it was Icelandic Meat Soup for lunch (so good) and we shared our table with a delightful professional rugby player from Australia and his wife. When he stood up I asked his wife how tall he was and she told me 213 centimeters which translates to about 6'10"--a big guy. Onward to Gulfoss (Golden Falls) which is Iceland's most famous and impressive waterfall and features a double cascade. Did I mention it was still raining, windy and cold? We did make it out to the viewing platform and it was spectacular. There was another viewing platform up above the falls but Oli recommended we didn't try it due to the inclement weather plus he didn't think the view was as good. Our last stop before returning to Reykjavik was the Thingvellir National Park where the ancient Viking parliament met for centuries and Iceland declared independence from Denmark in 1944. It is also the site of the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the Eurasian and North American plates meet. Fortunately it had stopped raining and we were able to get up to a viewing area to see what all this activity had done to the landscape. Judi and I figure Oli must be a geologist because he spent quite a bit of time explaining how the plates line up and were moving apart 2 centimeters a year. Evidently there is alot of earthquake activity in Iceland. Oli was telling us there had just been some strong earthquakes recorded in one of their volcanoes (can't remember the name) and we shouldn't be surprised when we get home if we hear about it erupting. After getting situated back at the hotel in Reykjavik (we had asked before we left if we could get the same room back because we liked the view so much and they were able to give us the same room on a different floor) we headed out to find the Torfan Restaurant that specialized in Icelandic lobster (langoustine). I had asked the hotel desk clerk to make a reservation for us anytime between 6:30 and 7 which she did. When I asked what time, she said "between 6:30 and 7". It was a lovely old house on a little hill a few blocks from the hotel and, thankfully, it wasnt raining much. I did get the langoustine tails and Judi C. tried the halibut and, of course, we shared. A nice way to end the day. We are really enjoying Iceland in spite of the weather. JB

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