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Iceland day 2 - Golden Circle to Hrauneyjar

Added: June 28, 2008

Tags: Iceland geothermal geysir lava mountains photos waterfalls
Sunday 15th June 2008 is our first all-Iceland day. Our plan is to see Golden Circle, a few waterfalls and get to highlands. It is cloudy and forecast predicts rain.

Golden Circle

This typical route is probably taken by everybody who arrives to Iceland. It is close to Reykjavik and it promises sights that are quite rare in rest of Europe like geysirs and cliffs formed by drifting continental plates.

Number of cars and tour buses suggests so too. As we learned later, roads are much less busy elsewhere and we've seen more cars only last day between Borgarnes and Reykjavik week later.

It takes us some time till we find courage to stop car at any reasonable place (where we will be seen soon enough) to take pictures. But after a few days we do not see any problem also in reversing car from side road to highway :-) as most roads in Iceland are straight and you can see quite far in both directions.

It started to rain lightly, it is windy and cold. Not as cold as name Iceland suggests, but clearly it is not summer temperature here.

Þingvallavatn (Thingvallavatn)

This is the largest lake in Iceland. We are stopping here only shortly at information point.




This was taken somewhere between Þingvallavatn and Þingvellir. I do not remember exactly, but it could be our first stop on road directly without pulling to some side road or parking lot.


National park Þingvellir (Thingvellir*) is the first big stop in Golden Circle. A lot can be seen here: fissures, waterfalls, historical buildings. Additionally this is the place where the first democratic parliament was established in AD 930.

* Start to learn these funny letters, I will not be "translating" all the time :-)

Fissure at Almannagjá, one of many parallel fissures where spreading of Eurasian and American plate left visible signs. You will never see more people on my photo taken during Iceland trip - it was very busy here when we came.






Our first waterfall in Iceland - Öxarárfoss, just behind fissure corner. Fortunately I knew it is hidden so we did not miss it, but went straight towards it. We will have less luck in similar situation in the evening.


Our next stop is at really atractive place, because it is quite rare on the Earth - geysirs. But we have seen only one working - Strokkur. Every 6-10 minutes, there was 3 seconds of eruption. Sometimes there was another smaller erruption in 2 minutes.

We wanted to see also Geysir - the one that gave name to all of them, but it is rare and we had only 9 days in Iceland :-) Really, imagine that we were lucky enough to see its eruption after a few hours of waiting. But because of fatigue or due not to bre totally focused we would miss it. So we could wait another hours (days?) till next eruption...
Even with Strokkur with its short waiting time I could only hardly understand how are people around it able to wait with cameras ready to take picture. Of course I cheated - camera on tripod, pre-composed, pre-focused, pre-metered, with one finger on shutter... Still after 3-4 tries I got fed up.

This one is demo version or little brother of geysir. Or son? :-) Nothing happened here apart from hot bubbling and steaming water.

It's up there.

This is Geysir from short distance, well behind rope, I was lucky it did not erupt while taking this picture :-)

This hot pool turned out to be tricky to take picture of. I wanted to press shutter when wind engulfed me in thick layer of fog. I did not see anything till I removed glasses.


Nice colors and texture of sediments.

Strokkur works!
Strokkur1      Strokkur2

Strokkur3      Strokkur4

Lupines up the hill.


My first huge waterfall! Impression made by Öxarárfoss is starting to fade. If only sun was shining seriously, to get nice blue sky and better rainbow. But still very impressive!



HDR, to show dense clouds better.

And finally we have glimpse of sun today! Accompanied with rainbow! :-)