Iceland ~ Thingvellir NP, Gullfoss, Geysir, Fontana Health Spa

Monday September 8th ~ Iceland, Day 2

Typical Iceland landscape

Typical Iceland landscape

An early nine-hour tour got us up at 6:00 a.m. and on the road by 7:30.Today’s outing was labeled Gullfoss, Geysir and Hot Spring and cost $149.75 USD per person. Described by Royal Caribbean as:

“A tour that takes in some of the most famous sites and sights in Iceland! The neo-volcanic rift at Thingvellir (A UNESCO site), a natural hot spring sauna experience, the spouting hot springs at Geysir and the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall. Traveling through what is considered to be the Golden Circle, an area of volcanic and natural wonders treasured above all others by Icelanders.”

Thingvellir National Park

Thing National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site took us to where the world’s oldest legislative parliament met. It sits at the convergence of the American tectonic plate and the European/Asian plate.

Walking between two continents - American vs Europe/Asia

Walking between two continents – American vs Europe/Asia

At some places in the world where the plates meet, they collide with one plate going under the other, forcing one plate to rise up, such as we see in California along the San Andreas Fault line. But here in Iceland, the two plates are splitting apart instead. We had the opportunity to walk down inside the crevice where the fault line has created quite a gap. What an amazing opportunity!

3

Women were drowned in this pool for committing adultery

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The view out from the meeting site

Fontana Wellness Center

After a shower and donning our bathing suits we walked outside and quickly entered steaming pools of water. They varied in temperature, but we were quite content in the 38 C natural pool with large rocks to sit on. Followed up with a sauna before changing back to our layers of warm clothing.

One of the pools at Fontana Health Spa

One of the pools at Fontana Health Spa

Gullfoss Waterfall

This two tiered waterfall is one of the wonders of Iceland and I can see why they are so proud of it. Even from way above the falls, looking down one got a feeling for their grander and power.

Gullfoss waterfall

Gullfoss waterfall

Tim and Joanne at Gullfoss

Tim and Joanne at Gullfoss

Tim's poor umbrella finally bit the dust...

Tim’s poor umbrella finally bit the dust…

Our lunch was included and consisted of a bowl of Icelandic soup made from a warm broth, a couple chunks of lamb, and a mixture of vegetables including carrot, onion, and rutabaga. I only ate a small portion while waiting for the main course. I soon realized that the small dinner roll, butter, water and a minute piece of chocolate bar (about as much as in one Hershey’s Kiss) completed the meal. After eating like a king (or perhaps like a pig may be more accurate) ever since getting on the ship I was stunned. My dear husband thought my reaction was funny as I kept repeating, “no, surely there is more”.

Geysir

They have their version of “Old Faithful” called Strokkur, a geyser that erupts every few minutes. People lined up along the fence, jockeying for a front row position to try to capture a shot as it burst forth. I was excited to capture the bubble just before it exploded and shot boiling water straight up toward the sky, and then the receding waters as they rushed to refill the gaping hole.

Geysir bubble just as it was erupting

Geysir bubble just as it was erupting

I later walked the lower pathway and took this picture upward toward the crowd waiting for the next “show”.

Waiting and watching

Waiting and watching

Blue pool

Blue pool

Colorful streams full of extremophiles

Colorful streams full of extremophiles

Kerid

A volcanic crater that was formed about 6500 years ago.  It lies in a row of craters known as Tjarnarholar, located in the Grimsnes area.

Kerid

Kerid

It reminded me of Crater Lake near where I grew up in Oregon, but on a smaller scale. This crater was probably formed when a small magma chamber beneath the crater emptied after an explosion and then the land collapsed. Groundwater filled the caldera up to a level that varies from 7 to 14 meters, depending upon the water table.

Imagine Peace Tower

Peace

Imagine Peace Tower

Funded by Yoko Ono, the tower is illuminated with a beam shooting up into the sky every year from October 9th, John Lennon’s birthday until December 8th, the date he was assassinated.

Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for those peacemakers around the globe who truly believe that peace is possible and have devoted their lives through literature, prayer, music, lectures, peaceful protest or legislation toward making it happen. We have shed light on Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Bobby Kennedy to name a few. May OUR generation be successful!

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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10 Responses to Iceland ~ Thingvellir NP, Gullfoss, Geysir, Fontana Health Spa

  1. Great post guys, brings back memories for me; I was a research student in Iceland for a summer in 1991; had an amazing time. We were also blessed with sunshine for weeks on end which all the locals kept reminding us wasn’t normal – I can see you experienced ‘normal’!

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    • Thank you David, and welcome to our blog. Yes, I’m afraid the Icelandic sunshine was more of the “liquid” version for us. We still enjoyed it though and would love to return someday to see more. It is a large place and we only saw a small corner.

      Like

  2. Kirstie says:

    Wonderful photos, and reminds me that Iceland is on my list of top places to visit. Nature is truly astounding!

    Like

  3. mewhoami says:

    Gorgeous photos! Thank you for sharing your journey.

    Like

  4. Cindi says:

    I’ve never seen a bad photo from Iceland, and yours are stunning. Your descriptions are enlightening, too!

    Your husband’s umbrella made me laugh. As an American living in the Bergen area of Norway for over seven years now, I quickly learned a hooded jacket like yours is much more effective than my poor umbrella! 🙂

    Like

  5. Wingclipped says:

    That geyser bubble is a GREAT picture! I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and your posts are doing nothing to abate my appetite!

    Like

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