Iceland – a country with more rainbows than people [1]

/ October 10, 2014/ Europe, Iceland, Travel Journal/ 2 comments

Iceland is always a good idea.

Iceland is an amazing country for plenty of reasons and during my one-week stay there I only experienced a small percentage of it. I think that human life is too short to see everything there and what is more, this unique landscape changes incessantly so every time you visit one place it differs somehow. This is the country between two continents where you find active volcanos, countless waterfalls, colorful rainbows, hot springs, hills covered with moss, geysers, northern lights and massive glaciers. A lot of space, wildlife and pure nature are also included.

I made a decision to visit Iceland spontaneously – I found extremely cheap ticket and bought it immediately. Then I started to plan the trip from scratch. To cut a long story short, I found through Couchsurfing three travel mates, we worked on our itinerary together and in the night September 1st I landed in Keflavik, where I spent my very first night.

Until my plane set off from Berlin airport I was not sure whether my flight was canceled due to volcano eruption or not. However, I was quite lucky and I not only made it to Iceland but also spotted from plane window both flowing lava from Bárðarbunga and northern lights. It was the first time I said “alright I’ve seen everything, I can go back already”.

View from plane

Thingvellir National Park

Together with my travel mates we started our trip with the Golden Circle. First stop: þingvellir – a place of a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge located in the north of Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland. What is more, the first extant parliamentary institution in the world (The Alþingi) was established there.

 

Þingvellir (rift valley)

Þingvellir (rift valley)

Þingvellir (rift valley)

Þingvellir (rift valley)

Þingvallavatn (lake)

Þingvallavatn (lake)

Þingvallavatn (lake)

Þingvallavatn (lake)

Þingvellir (rift valley)

Þingvellir (rift valley)

Next stop – geysers! Not many people know about that, but Icelanders are the only nation that does not call a geyser a geyser. This name was derived from the biggest one on Iceland which is simply called Geysir. Eruptions at Geysir can hurl boiling water up to 70 metres in the air. However, nowaydays they are very rare and we had only the chance to admire smaller eruptions of Strokkur (up to 30 meters).

The Great Geysir

The Great Geysir

Little Geysir

Little Geysir

Geysers

Geysers

Geysers

Geysers

Strokkur - geyser eruption

Strokkur – geyser eruption

Then we headed to the last spot in the Golden Circle – Gullfoss (golden falls). This was the second time I said that I’d seen everything and I could go back. And actually it was the first waterfall (out of dozens) that I saw there.

Gullfoss - waterfall

Gullfoss – waterfall

Reykjavik

From the Golden Circle we headed to the capital of Iceland – Reykjavik. The city does not resemble any of European capitals. It is quite small comparing to other. Governmental buildings are tiny and modest – you can even walk to the prime minister’s office and knock his door. No guards, no monitoring system, police unarmed – totally different world.

Harpa - concert hall

Harpa – concert hall

Laugavegur - main shopping street

Laugavegur – main shopping street

Reykjavik

Reykjavik

Tjörnin lake

Tjörnin lake – Reykjavik

Laugavegur - main shopping street

Laugavegur – main shopping street

Dómkirkjan - cathedral

Dómkirkjan – cathedral

Alþingishúsið - house of the Icelandic parliament

Alþingishúsið – house of the Icelandic parliament

The sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland – Hallgrímskirkja church is only 72 meters high.

Hallgrímskirkja - the tallest church in Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja – the tallest church in Iceland

Reykjavik has a very attractive nightlife, especially at weekends. Icelanders love hanging out in bars with friends till morning hours. We experienced only a little bit of it – going to the jazz concert.

Jazz concert

Even though, it is a quite small city you can find almost everything here – even the phallological museum. What a pity we’ve missed it.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum

The Icelandic Phallological Museum – Reykjavik

 

To be continued…