Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Iceland Day 2. Golden Circle

Today was really fun, very cold, and very very wet but I'm so glad things worked out!
I put in a request with a small tour company last night but it said they needed more than 24hrs so I wasn't expecting them to be able to fit me in today!
Luckily I woke at 8am, and for some reason decided to check my emails before I drifted off again. Well I'm so glad I did! They'd emailed saying they could fit me in and I was getting picked up down the road at 8:30! Cue a manic panic rushing to get ready (in the dark) without waking up the girl in the bunk bed. All I'll say is I made it with time to spare - I can never use waking up late as an excuse ever again!
 I do quite like doing some of the small guided tours as you really find out a whole host of things there's no way you would have known. e.g. we got tons of information on the hot water Reykjavik pump in from natural thermal springs which I'd never have read about since it sound terribly dull. But in fact, seeing the pipe and hearing some funny stories about it, made it quite interesting
 we stopped at this lake on the way to our first main stop and it was just beautiful! Our tour guide actually has a small cabin just up the road so we got a bit more local info on the area 
(apparently most families have a cabin since Iceland have quite a lot of holiday time and it's nice to get out of the city!
 The rain had mostly held off for us to get to Parliament Rock. This is a really historically significant part of Iceland as it's where their early courts were held and where the various 'chief's from around the island would gather to discuss laws and language. 
Now this area is most well known for being the meeting point for the North American and Euro-Asian Tectonic Plates!
Being a bit of a geology nerd I was so fascinated by the rock formations the tectonic plates had created and it was pretty cool to be on the edge of them!
Parliament rocks has some pretty beautiful surrounding scenery too with lots of waterfalls and streams lining the wall
Just looking at the water shows just how cold it was! it's usually only a few degrees above freezing!
Although it didn't actually rain, there was that fine, misty rain the entire time I walked along the wall - so that's why my hood is up! But this is at one of the streams that run along Parliament rock. 
Right behind me in the wishing well! The water is so clear it looks like it's only come up to my ankles, but, if you throw in a coin you can actually count to 20 before it reaches the bottom!
 I couldn't help but think all the sparking coins from different currencies added to the pool feeling and looking a little bit magical!
 After Parliament Rock we headed to a Geothermal Area. I wasn't overly fussed about this section having seen a lot of active thermal areas in NZ, but it was also our lunch stop so I didn't complain!
I was looking forward to seeing Geysir though - the first one named, and as such the one all consequent Geysirs are named after! It hasn't erupted since an earthquake a couple of years ago, but there were plenty of other Geysirs dotted near by that went off several times while I was there!

 Including Little- Geysir!
 There were also a few pools like this which were boiling and released tons of steam while being these incredible bright blue shades
 The best bit for me was the way the whole area looked! Since it was further North autumn has already set in a little bit and as such everything was the most amazing gold and russet colours!
 Which with the mountains of steam just lent the area a uniquely beautiful quality!
 After lunch we head out to Gullfoss Waterfall
 This was just one of the most incredible waterfalls. 
 With one of the best bits being if you braved a slightly treacherous path you could walk out to the rock that juts into the middle of the river and stand not too far away from the middle of a glacial river!
 I got completely soaked but it was so worth it!
 After getting drenched I walked up the cliff side to view it from above and to be honest it just got more impressive the higher I climbed
 The amount of spray is just incredible and the sheer force of the water is just impossible to reckon!
 I should mention it was raining by the time we got to Gullfoss which with all the spray resulted in a rather unhappy camera! It could have been worse, but the lens majorly fogged up. After tweaking the settings for a while though I think I managed to make it look 'artsy'… or at least that's what I'm telling myself! Thankfully I wasn't too bothered about taking photos at this waterfall as, although it was undoubtedly impressive, i knew Gullfoss was the star attraction for me on the Golden Circle Tour
Despite saying Gullfoss was my star attraction, and I fully expected it to be, the brief stop we had at this incredible pool might actually be my highlight!
Perhaps because I didn't know we were stopping here, or perhaps just because the turquoise water with the rich red soil and vibrant green grass created a really mesmerising landscape!
 It's a shame my camera wasn't all full force, but luckily the fog retreated to the outer corners so I think I managed to work with it! The fog certainly doesn't detract from how beautiful it was anyway
Something I found fascinating was that in the middle of summer they hold concerts here! The float the acts out on a raft into the pool and people line the sides to listen!
And I though the view from the top was pretty stunning looking away from the pool too!

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