In Iceland: Gullfoss

Gullfoss is amazing, I had seen pictures of the waterfall online and I thought it would be nice but I had no idea it would be this beautiful! It was -8c and bitterly cold, I couldn’t feel my hands but it was worth it. There are three viewing points top, middle and bottom levels. The top and the middle levels were open and the views from both were just amazing! Looking down the canyon on the top level was so cool to see.
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There is a history to this waterfall. In the early 1900s an Icelandic man owned Gullfoss, foreign investors wanted to use the waterfall’s power to produce electricity. The man didn’t let the investors buy the waterfall but decided to rent it to them. The man’s daughter, Sigriður, was deeply angered by this and wanted the investors off the land. She hired a lawyer and pleaded her case, she was so passionate about it she threatened to throw herself into the waterfall as she couldn’t see this amazing natural beauty tainted. She didn’t win the case but the fees were never payed so Gullfoss was safe.

The waterfall was passed down to the generations in the family until in 1940 where Gullfoss was sold to the Icelandic government and was made a nature reserve in 1979. Sigriður’s passion for Gullfoss made people realise how important it is to keep the landscape of Iceland intact. This mentality is still very much important to Iceland today.

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This last stop on the Golden Circle is definitely worth it, it is amazing to see in person. Images just don’t do it justice.

It can be very slippery on the boardwalks and outside the cafe so once again take care if you are travelling in winter. I recommend the lamb stew in the cafe, it is warming and filling and you can get a free refill!

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I cannot recommend this wonderful location enough. It is simply beautiful and I cannot wait to go back!

Happy Travels!

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In Iceland: Geysir and Strokkur

Driving down the road towards Geysir is so exciting because you can see the billowing smoke from the ground from where Strokkur erupted. I really enjoyed this part of the trip, I thought it was amazing to see such a force of nature and how close you can get to it! I was there at sunset and the light was stunning.PhoebeGill150110334

There is a hotel and visitors centre opposite the site. There is a shop, cafe and toilets in there so no need to worry. The site is free and on the road so really accessible! Be careful in January because the paths and the area where to stand can be very slippery.

Geysir is the largest pool in the site and it is said that it is the reason why all other geysers are named so. It is dormant now but it would have reached heights of 70 meters.

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Strokkur is now the main event. The wait for Strokkur to erupt is amazing, the pool swells and shrinks as pressure builds and when it turns the beautiful aquamarine colour and forms a bubble, it is about to erupt. It reaches 30 meters in height and the spectacle is amazing. Watching boiling hot water shoot from the ground is just a fantastic natural wonder. PhoebeGill150110387I highly recommend going to Geysir, it is amazing, I have read trip advisor reviews that it isn’t that impressive and that there are bigger in the US or New Zealand and that may be the case but I think it’s a waste of time to compare them.

I also heard a lot of people tsk and sigh because it takes a while to start churning again, looking impatiently through their camera screens. If I had had more time I would of pulled up a camping chair and waited, looking with my eyes and  actually taking it in.

My advice is to stop and take in a force of nature that is wonderful and powerful and irregardless of size, it is a must see.

Happy Travels!

In Iceland: Þingvellir National Park

This is the first stop of the Golden Circle. They way you pronounce Þingvellir is Thingvellir. I only did the main tourist walk bit I didn’t actually go down into the park. I was on a tour and I didn’t have any time to go off and explore for myself. Looking out at the viewing points the landscape is so beautiful!

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Þingvellir literally means ‘Assembly Plains’ it is where decisions were made and events were held. It is a very important place in Icelandic history. PhoebeGill150110232 Not only that but it is an amazing natural wonder. The area is a fissure area, which means that there is a huge crack in the earth because Iceland is on top of two tectonic plates that broke apart. Sites like these make me wish I paid more attention in geography!

In winter it is beautiful, everything is covered in snow and it makes the park look endless! I want to go back because I have no idea what it would look like without it and that is something I need to know.

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This park is free entry, although the toilets will cost you 200 isk (€1.30) because it is a national park and they have to remove the waste.

It is definitely worth it to go, the area is beautiful, the history and geography is fascinating and you can also go diving in this area too. I can’t wait to go back!

Happy Travels!