Volcanoes, geysers, waterfalls… Icelandic adventures

Posted by in Exploration

Iceland… what a place of natural wonders and out-of-this-world landscapes! Snowstorms and hot springs… volcano craters and erupting geysers… amazing food and fascinating history!

My favourite spot was the Blue Lagoon – a hot spring (temperatures reaching 39°C), basically condensed steam… More correctly described, it is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and is renewed every two days. It is rich in silica, which is why you’ll see pictures of so many people with white faces – covered with silica masks. Very nurturing for your skin! We spent the whole day in the lagoon and witnessed a wide range of weather conditions – rain, snow, hail, sunshine, wind… The feeling of your body being in hot water, while your head is enduring wind, hail and snow is pretty surreal! Check out the photos below 😀

In complete contrast to the day spent in the hot waters of the Blue Lagoon, on the second day of our trip around the Golden Circle trail we were completely blown away, literally. The gusts of wind, accompanied by snow and hail, nearly prevented us from walking and all I could see through the fur of my hood were pieces of dramatic landscapes of brown lava mountains covered in snow. We battled the weather and ploughed through to uncover sights of volcano craters, breath-taking waterfalls and steamy geysers (see Strokkur geyser erupting in the video below!). The smell of sulfur was poignant everywhere… but it was part of the experience! :) In the words of our guide, “the landscape of Iceland is like the teeth of an infant”. It’s still shaping and changing… The mountains that we see today were formed under the ice sheet as a result of volcanic activity during the Ice Age.

Our trip around the Golden Circle was guided by a local whose fascination with the history and geology of his country transpired. Some very interesting (though unconfirmed) facts I picked up from him: Iceland was the last country in the world to be inhabited due to its geographical characteristics and location. Between 14-19th century Iceland was almost uninhabitable due to the extreme cold. Reykjavik was built in the 1920s, with the first public bus coming in operation in 1931. Approximately 90% of Iceland’s energy is geothermal! Potable water is not purified… it comes pure from the source! Reykjavik means “smokey bay” but it’s not smokey anymore because the steam is now used to produce energy. In AD 930 the world’s first democratic parliament was established in Iceland! You can see the site where the Assembly met in the photos below. Iceland was part of the Danish Kingdom until 1904, became independent in 1914 and a republic in 1944. Full facts and a lot more comprehensive details about Iceland’s history are available here.

The two constants during our trip were the changing weather and the delicious food!

Injoy the natural wonders of Iceland, including the Golden Circle trail, Reykjavik and delicious dishes, with the photos below… :) Some glimpses of the Northern Lights are also available in the album 😉

Icelandic landscapes