Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sightseeing: Golden Circle Tour

For the first of my tours I went for the most popular Golden Circle tour. This is a tour out into the Icelandic countryside that takes in some of the geographical highlights in the immediate area east of the capital.

This is a geothermic plant where naturally heated water is taken from the ground and piped through to the capital. Along the way the temperature of the water drops from 87 to 85 so their insulation is pretty good. Because the resource is limited in the capital this'll explain why there isn't always an en suite in every hotel room (my place had a shared one) and why the water smells a bit sulphurish.

The white domes are caps on previous drilling into the ground.

The edge of Thingvallvatn Lake where the water is clear. (apologies for the reflection, it was taken from our bus)

This is Thingvellir, the former site of the Icelandic Parliament chosen because the rock wall helped the acoustics of the people speaking. It's naturally formed by plates moving apart and the ground between them slowly dropping in height as it sinks.

This is Gulfoss one of the main waterfalls in the country. Whilst not massively high it is still quite big and the rate of the water going over is pretty mental.

Two tourists jump the safety fence to get a better shot of the waterfall, which to be honest can be photographed very well from elsewhere.

Lunch came in the form of a very tasty lamb stew/soup.

Appropriately called Geysir, this part of the country is home to some geysers.

The largest one is pretty impressive and would erupt approximately every 7 minutes.

The water looked pretty hot and the wide circle from which the public viewed served as a warning not to get too close.

Skaholt Cathedral is out in the middle of nowhere and is another basic if large structure

Even more basic was the turf church next door.

Our turn finished at a horse farm, which I think was the Laxnes one. These horse looked really bored and the group weren't really into this. We left soon after, but you can take part in horse riding tours from here - perhaps the horses were done carrying people for the day.

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