Surrounded by the Atlantic, partially covered with ice, crested by deep valleys, strong waterfalls, Iceland is the tip of the sword above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. A vast land of incredible natural diversity, from the snow covered peaks in the center to the endless black-sand beaches that struggle vigorously with the Atlantic waves. It is the place where ice and fire coexist, giving a unique landscape where glaciers form on top of volcanoes, lava springs out from under the ice, mud boils at the surface and sulfur-rich waters heal any wound. Father time and mother Earth have been both generous and cruel with these lands. The beauty and wealth found here is only equaled by the numerous natural disasters that have crippled the country's forest surface to almost nothing and decimated the population throughout history.
Any geologist would easily agree that Iceland is more than fascinating. Speaking from personal experience and knowledge, Iceland is definitely one of the best places to be if you are a natural science student or just a passionate for our beautiful little blue planet. It is here that one can see "behind the curtain" how earth is created, can take a peek into history by simply looking at layers of ice.
It has been a novel experience for both of us, not just because we were here for the first time but because we never did so many things and saw so many completely different places in just one day.
Undoubtedly the hardest of them all and the most tiresome. Having slept but a few hours the night before (you know how it is, planning and other stuff done in the last moment :D ) a lot of coffee before the flight, on the flight and after landing, picking up the car, hearing a lot of gibberish about insurance, damage to the car, sandstorms and broken windshields, we finally got out under the overcast Icelandic sky. Our first priority was to head over to Reykjavik and find camping gas (our reserves were confiscated by a nice lady at the Copenhagen Airport- we can understand why, although it is not the first time we fly with camping gas in our backpacks- suck on this airport security!!). Anyway, we eventually found a gas station that had what we needed and so we took off eastbound. We decided to leave Reykjavik to our last day.
|The road leading east|
|Þingvellir National Park (Almannagjá canyon marks the boundary between the Eurasian and North-American plate tectonics)|
|Þingvellir National Park|
|Þingvellir National Park|
|Baking bread near Geysir. Geothermal heat is used by locals to bake bread. Rúgbrauð is simply placed in holes in the ground and left there for several hours.|
Geysir- a natural hot spring that simply can't handle the pressure and bursts into the air, it can go up to 10 meters. However, Geysir hasn´t been so active in recent years so his mate, Strokkur, decided to lend a hand and keep tourists with itchy shutter fingers happy.
|Volcanic landscape and young vegetation|
|Gullfoss. The Golden Waterfall|
The Golden Fall is one hell of a waterfall. Monumental, loud and intimidating.
Uriðafoss is the underdog in the south, compared to its bigger sisters and yet, it is the most voluminous waterfall in the country (360 m3/s). It is also located on the Þjórsá River, the longest river in the country (230 km)
If you ever thought of visiting Iceland or you like looking at photos from this country, it is very likely that you heard or saw photos of Seljalandsfoss. What makes it so interesting and popular is its proximity to the national road (oh yes, why go further away from the road and from safety when you can just lower your window). Leaving bad humor aside, it is a gorgeous waterfall, with a 60 meters drop and one can get behind it which makes this an even more interesting experience. The view from behind the waterfall is amazing and although the wind blew towards us, soaking us completely, it was a fantastic way to end our first day.
To be continued...