Thursday, 29 May 2014

Iceland 27: The Golden Circle (part two)

We left the park and followed the signposts to Geysir - the eponymous location which has given its name to all areas which spout boiling water into the air.  On the way we stopped at a service station, but decided not to sample the "traditional" Icelandic fare on offer.

The rain came and went, but by the time we arrived at Geysir it was dry again.  The car park was absolutely full, as this is one of the main tourist attractions in the area.  For the first time since we arrived in Iceland it was also clear that there were plenty of English voices to be heard.  The boiling pools and spouting geyser were absolutely stunning, although there were lots of people milling around them the entire time.

Lots of people (including us) spent several minutes waiting around with increasingly aching arms (from holding cameras) while waiting for Geysir to spout.  It was fairly chaotic in both its timing and its magnitude, but that made it more interesting.  There wasn't very much in the way of "health & safety" either, as it was possible to stand very close to the huge spout of boiling water - so close, in fact, that those downwind got drenched.

I took a series of pictures during one of the eruptions, and made a video slideshow which demonstrates what it looks like approximately in real time.  YouTube doesn't appear to have support for "portrait" videos, unfortunately, so the thumbnail it shows is rubbish.  Hopefully the video sequence itself is worth seeing, however.

The picture below demonstrates the almost complete lack of Health & Safety on the site.  Good for the Icelanders, that's what I say, as an equivalent attraction in the UK would be completely roped off.  In addition we'd be charged an arm and a leg to visit it; natural features, in Iceland, are always free.

There were other pools as well with more vivid colours, but the overriding memory will be of the excitement generated by attempting to anticipate the "main event".

Away from the boiling water there was plenty of plant life too, which made a change from the hundreds of irritating tourists with their banal conversations.  Bah, humbug...

It was clear that, having visited Thingvellir and Geysir, we needed to "collect the set" and go to Gullfoss.  Brace yourselves for the next thrilling episode.