Last week, for a very special birthday, I was treated to a trip to Iceland. We took a two hour flight from Belfast to Keflavik, which is about 40km west of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. The first thing that we were struck by was the difference in the landscape. As we’d expected it seemed very rugged and quite barren but never short of a natural feature to interest the eye.
We stayed in an apartment in the centre of Reykjavik. Like all capital cities this is a very busy place. There was lots of construction going on and many many tourists even for the month of October. Most of the visitors seemed to hail from the U.S. and China. Occasionally we heard an Irish accent or recognised faces from our plane trip over.
Being based in Reykjavik was great. We hired a car which meant that we could visit lots of the interesting geographical features of the country which were close by.
We visited Geysir which is basically a large field full of bubbling geysirs of varying sizes. All of the geysirs have different names and varying time lapses between each eruption e.g. the one shown above, which is the original geysir, only erupts about once every ten years.
It’s nearby neighbour, Strokkur, erupts about once every 7 minutes. We sat on a nearby bench and admired it’s spouting burst of boiling water a number of times during our visit.
Waterfalls are a common feature of the Icelandic landscape. When we came across the first waterfall we were totally in awe by the sheer size of it. The volume and the speed of the water was breathtaking. We took numerous photos from all angles. By day two we realised that waterfalls were everywhere and although we enjoyed looking at them the cameras stayed in our pockets.
The Thingvellir National Park is a rift valley where the North American and the Eurasion tectonic plates are drifting apart. It was here that the first Icelandic Parliament took place, where laws were passed and (very nasty) punishments carried out.
Volcanic material was in evidence in many places that we visited.
At this spot, in Laufskálavarda, a farm was destroyed by volcanic activity in 894. By tradition everybody passing by for the first time picks up a stone and places it on one of the mounds.
During our short time we walked on glaciers in the dark hence the lack of photos (absolutely not to be recommended safety wise), and we chased the Northern Lights, catching only a teasing glimpse…
Iceland is one incredible place.
More to come…