Saturday, March 31, 2018

Golden Circle, Iceland

Fri 16 Feb 2018

Golden Circle, Iceland

Gulfoss - Geysir / Strokkur - Thingvellir

We continued onwards to cover the Golden Circle route after spending time at Solheimajokull glacier with Gulfoss waterfall as the first stop, about 2 hours away. Gulfoss is a waterfall of the Hvita river, that plunges into a deep canyon of 32m depth. It creates a powerful gush of water where several attempts to generate electricity were made but were unsuccessful. An aerial view of the Gulfoss waterfall would be marvellous. Not sure if drones are permitted here for aerial photography, as it is not permitted at the second stop - Geysir.

Gulfoss waterfall

Geyser got its name from the Geysir in Iceland. Geysir is located at a high temperature geothermal area with a base temperature of 250C. So Be careful not to touch the steam at it reach boiling temperatures! The signboard says that the nearest hospital is 62km away. Geysir erupted after earthquake activity, the last one occurred in 2000. At its peak, it erupted up to 70-80 m high. Earthquakes also created several new hot springs in the area, including another smaller but active geyser - Strokkur, erupting every few minutes. Strokkur erupts up to 25-35m high.

Geysir geothermal area

Geysir geothermal area

Strokkur erupting

Our last destination today - Thingvellir National Park is a Unesco World Heritage site. It is located on the boundary of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It is also historically important as it is Iceland's ancient legal and judicial assembly site. There are numerous hiking trails at the park, which we would have trekked if we had time. We only went to the main viewpoint near Hakid which is also where the visitor centre is. The fissure between the tectonic plates is a walking distance from this viewpoint. Parking fee is 500 ISK per day, which acts also as a daypass, and you can park at any of the parking sites P1 to P5 and put the ticket on display at your dashboard.

pay the parking on the spot with your credit card

Thingvellir National Park from view point

walk between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plate

Later that night, we booked for a Northern Lights tour with Trips Iceland. It wasn't our luck again tonight, as there was no aurora borealis seen, perhaps a faint light, according to the tour guide, but we couldn't be sure as the place was not totally dark, there were street lights around. We were brought around 3 places within the vicinity of Reykjavik, on of them was Strandarkirkja church originally built sometime in the 12th century. We were disappointed with the tour company as they left us behind! We waited at our apartment Downtown Reyjavik since 8.30 pm until 9.30pm (the bus was scheduled to arrive between 8.30 - 9pm). We had to call the company twice before finally a taxi arrived and rushed us over to where the tour bus were already on the way to the Northern Lights viewing spot! And the company did not offer another viewing as they considered our hunt tonight as 'succesful'. We don't recommend this company Trips Iceland with their Gorgeous Northern Lights tour.

Strandarkirkja church

The next day was already time to return to London via British Airways, and later that night was our connecting flight back to Kuala Lumpur via Malaysia Airlines. It was indeed too short to cover Iceland, with not a contingency plan for unexpected weather conditions. Hopefully we will get a chance to visit Iceland again - and we would be aiming for September at the start of the aurora season. Thank you Iceland for the wonderful memories!



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