Tarts take on Nature in Iceland

19:00 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

I would not necessarily say I am a nature person.

Do I love nature? Of course! I love snow and mountains and sunrises/sunsets and all kinds of other beautiful things that are awe-inspiring and magnificent.

Do I enjoy any type of activity in nature? Eh, not necessarily. I have never particularly enjoyed camping, fishing, or long nature walks. I blame it on the fact that I either get a) cold or b) allergies.

When we decided to visit Iceland, it was purely for the Northern Lights. I hadn't really looked into many other things to check out there. I seem to be getting more and more lacksidasical about my trip planning. Should have learned my lesson from Bucharest!

Once we arrived in Reykjavik, I realised it was a nature lovers paradise. From the ocean to mountains to waterfalls and miracles of nature like the Northern Lights and geysirs, how could you not love it?

And to be honest, I fell back in love with nature. This love is made possible by the fact that there was no camping and the lack of trees seemed to be good for my allergies.

So how did I bond with nature on our trip?

We started off easy with the Blue Lagoon (not to be confused with the Blue Lagoon in Ölüdeniz). This is a geothermal pool which they have fancied up and opened up to visitors. You can lounge in the water naturally around 40 degrees celsius (100 farenheit) and cover yourself up in the silica that helps give the water its white hue. If you really want to pamper yourself, you can get massages and more, but we stuck with soaking in the pool til our fingers wrinkled, eating lunch, then repeating.

Iceland

The next day, we tackled the Golden Circle. This drive takes you through a lot of Icelandic landscape and some of the best natural treasures.


First stop on our tour was Gullfoss, the golden waterfall. The river, Hvítá, it originated from is made up of run-off from the glaciers. Upon it's discovery, it was almost lost to developers who wanted to harness the water for electricity. Luckily, it was saved from that fate and is now a popular stop on the Golden Circle. And I'm told if you catch it on a sunny day, you're likely to see a rainbow spanning the falls.
Golden Circle

Next up on the circle - the Geysers! The valley we visited included several geysers, including Geysir (yes, that's right) and Stokkur, along with tens of other smaller geysers. The whole area appears to be smoking upon your arrival. As you walk among the clouds of smoke and bubbling water, you may see Stokkur erupt in the background. Luckily, it's still active and goes off every 5-10 minutes, so if you stand there long enough, you'll be lucky enough to see it go off. Or in our case, see it go off 5 times. Nearby is the larger Geysir, but it isn't as active anymore, so we missed out on the show. This was my first time to see a geyser and it was captivating to sit there, watching the water slosh, boil and bubble, just tensing and waiting for the inevitable explosion. And yet every time it happens, you're surprised!


As we were waiting for Stokkur to go off, Paul began a count-
down from 10. All of a sudden, when he got to zero, the
geyser erupted, as if on command! Clearly, I got a
kick out of the coincidence

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The geyser Stokkur in action

As the grey skies open up to release some much anticipated snow, we headed to our final stop, Þingvellir National Park. Besides its beauty, the park has an important place in Icelandic history. It was the location of the first parliament of Iceland, which took place here from the 10th to 18th century. Even after it was no longer used for parliament, it has become a place to celebrate iconic moments in Iceland's history, including the establishment of the republic in 1944.

Golden Circle

And I can see why they would choose this spot. It is surrounded by mountains, with a lake in the middle and sits smack dab in the middle of the North American and European tectonic plates. As we climbed up the ramp to the top of the wall which was created by the plates shifting apart, you get a picturesque view of the expanse of the lake below. At the top, you can't help but to pause for a minute (or two) to take it all in.
Golden Circle
The wall created by the shifts of the
Europe and North America
tectonic plates

With that, we headed back to our hotel to pack up and head back to London. We snuck one more peak at the Northern Lights and bid adieu to Iceland. But, I have a sneaking suspicion we will be back to see what summer in Iceland has to offer.

Golden Circle
 

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