ICELAND, Day 2, July 22 and the Golden Circle

We begin Day Two by hiking through a geothermal field near the hotel.  Much of the energy in Iceland comes from green resources and almost all homes are heated by geothermal technology.  There are steam vents everywhere.  

Geothermal_vent_in_town

This is way better than Yellowstone… No restrictions.  Iceland seems to treat everyone as adults–if you’re dumb enough, you can walk right up to the vents that can be up to 100 degrees Centrigrade.  Seriously close, no boardwalks, etc., just a rope boundary.

Geothermal_danger_sign

Off to the geyser basin, we made a chance stop at another great church near Grindavik.

Church

—It’s not only beautiful, it  happens to have quite a history.  Strandakirkja Church is a simple wooden structure that is said to have been built by stricken seamen who had an angel guide them to rescue on shore.   (“The guiding light of those who sail the sea”).  This is a testament to the dangerous life seamen endure in the often violent waters off the Icelandic coast. 

 

Church2

 People from all over the world still pledge donations to Strandakirkja in hope of help in times of trouble. This wealthy little church (the richest in Iceland) is a treasure and its cemetary is a great stop.

Church3

Next we head through Selfoss for Geysir (gee’ sir) and the geyser field that gave spewing geothermal steam pits their name.

We saw the Strokkur Geyser go off every few minutes,

Stokkur

and walked over and threw the smoldering mud pots.  

Stokkur_wet

Again, no real barriers here.  If you take a risk, Iceland expects you to deal with the consequences!  

Hot_pots

I love the patterns made in the bronze geothermal mud by the flow from the geysers.

Hot_pot_mud

As a bonus, just before leaving I spotted my first giant troll…

Troll

And lo and behold, Great Geiser, which has a very irregular schedule, blew minutes later.  Lucky us!  (Maybe there is something to this troll stuff…)

Geysir_1
Geysir

We left for the back country to search for the Langjokull glacier.  Again, we hit a barren, lava-covered landscape along with the Hvita milky glacial river,

Beina-beina_milky_glacial_river_1

The glacier

Glacier

Huge patches of cotton grass

Cotton_grass

And some of the most beautiful lupin ever, thanks to the micro-climate created by the river! 

Lupin
Lupin_top

Ja

We finally made it to the 105′ Guilfoss waterfall,  one of the all-time national favorites.  That’s saying a lot because Iceland has a spectacular waterfall–or 5–at every turn.  It flows from a glacial lagoon through a  fissure in the Hvita river bed.

Guilfoss

Guilfoss2

Tomorrow we head east toward the iceberg lagoon and other amazing sites…

See you then!

Alberta

 

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