Golden Circle: Thingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss
Trip Start Aug 05, 2012
20Trip End Aug 19, 2012
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Wake up at 7am, then breakfast, and take off expected at 8:30. But a problem with the car rental company caused a slight delay and Pierre arrived with the rental car at 9:15 : a brand new 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser. The group splits between the two cars : 6 in the Defender (Pinto) and 7 in the Toyota.
First stop in Thingvellir, the parliament valley, famous place in the icelandic history. This is the place where the summer sessions of the antic icelandic parliament, created in 870, took place. Indeed Iceland is one of the first Republics in the world!
We watched a movie explaining the whole story of Thingvellir, and then we wandered in the giant rocky fault.
Next stop in the "Golden Circle Tour" is Geysir. Geysir, the famous geyser which gave its name to every geysers in the world, is actually inactive. It does not blow water anymore, except once a year on the Independence Day when soap is added to make it blow again !
But Strokkur, an other geyser, actually blows water to approximately 25m high every 5 to 10 minutes. It is less high than what Geysir was used to, but it is very ponctual and regular!
We then had lunch in a field close to Geysir and then drove to Gullfoss, the "golden waterfall", a gigantic waterfall of the Hvita river which abruptly plunges in two stages (11m and 21m) into a crevice 32m deep. The crevice, about 20m wide, and 2.5 km in length, is at right angles to the flow of the river. The average amount of water running over this waterfall is 140 m³/s in the summertime and 80 m³/s in the wintertime.
"No waterfall in Europe can match Gullfoss. In wilderness and fury, it outdoes the Niagara Falls of the United States. Thousands of unharnessed horsepowers flow continuously into the gorge, year and year out. Soon, however, Gullfoss will be harnessed for electricity production to supply the inhabitants of the south of the country with abundance of light and heat." (taken from a travel book by two Danes in the retinue of King Frederick VII after a visit to Gullfoss, 1907).
On our way to Vik i Myrdal, we stopped twice to admire two beautiful waterfalls...