This is the second in two posts about a GrayLine Iceland Excursions City sights and the Golden Circle tour that I did in Iceland in April 2011 to read the first part of this post click HERE.
My tour with GrayLine Iceland Excursions was a full loaded day trip. After I visited the Þingvellir National Park we headed to the very cool Gullfoss waterfall. Any waterfall I have ever seen big (Niagara) or small (a small waterfall…) has water crashing down over an edge and the water thunderously foaming straight out from it and heading down stream. However the Gullfoss Waterfall aka Golden Waterfall was different. The water flowed over the edge but when it hit the bottom it immediately went left! I had never seen anything like that before, it’s as if the waterfall came upon a gorge and instead of it forming the gorge the gorge formed it. Hmmmm does that make any sense? Maybe this photo will help.
A lot of the water flowing over the Gullfoss waterfall comes from the Lángjökull glacier. Glacier water generally carries a lot of sediment from the earth so on a sunny day when the sun hits the water and sediment just right it causes the waterfall to almost appear golden and that is how it came to get its name Gullfoss / Golden. The waterfall and the area that surrounds it were once owned by a private citizen who was going to sell the land to investors to place a hydro power plant here and change the waterfall forever. However these plans were later stopped after a young girl protested the power plant and she walked from Gullfoss to Reykjavik (120kms) in protest and threatened to throw herself off the waterfall. Now the waterfall is a protected site in Iceland and the area is owned by Iceland.
After getting too close and getting a little wet at Gullfoss we drove a short trip down the road to the see the Strokkur Geyser and hot spring area. Near the hot springs there was a big Sulfuric smell in the air however not as bad as the stench I endured in Rotorua, New Zealand. Actually everywhere in Iceland when you turn the hot water on you smell this smell, even when you were in the shower which sometimes caused me to be starving if I had a shower before eating breakfast! The sulfur smells like eggs… haha
The Strokkur Geyser erupts every 4-8mins, the water moves around and bubbles a bit and then you can start seeing the Geyser hole filling and the water bubbles at the top just about to fall over the sides (imagine filling a glass full of water so much that one more drop would make it spill) and then suddenly instead of flowing over the water shoots way into the air! While waiting for the Geyser you must pay attention to the wind so you won’t get soaked when it goes off because there is no way that you can run and get out of the way in time. I was getting soaked already as it was raining and hailing and it even started snowing. We didn’t have much time so I set up my video camera to get two shots of it going off and I got this one photo of it not even half as high as it goes (mid-spray).
This geyser is actually the smaller brother geyser to the large geyser called Geysir. An earthquake years ago caused Geysir to stop spouting as it use to be larger than Strokkur however now Strokkur steals the show but conveniently for Iceland Storkkur spouts more frequently which is better for tourism.
After the Geyser’s we headed back to Reykjavik before I would go on the Northern Lights tour later that night but lets save that for another post.
Stay tuned for more posts on Iceland as I will be adding a new one every day and up on the posts you may have missed “Iceland City Sights and the Golden Circle Part 1” “How to Get Drunk in Iceland”“Blue Lagoon, Iceland – aka The best way to relax after a flight.”
Disclaimer: I was invited on the City Sightseeing & Golden Circle Afternoon tour with GrayLine Iceland however all views and opinions expressed are my own. Hop on a plane and visit Iceland now already would ya!?