Saturday, we enjoyed another excellent breakfast at Vox, before departing on our full day tour with Reykjavik Excursions. We were scheduled to take the Golden Circle Tour which included a visit to Hellisheidi Power Plant, Gullfoss waterfall, the Great Geysir and Pingvellir National Park. After boarding our luxury motor coach, we were greeted by our tour guide who entertained us along the way with facts, storytelling and even a few Icelandic songs.
Our first stop was Iceland’s largest geothermal combined heat and power plant, Hellisheidi. Located in South West Iceland on an active volcanic ridge, Hellisheidi produces electricity and hot water. After an informative explanation of the plant and its processes, we toured the facilities. The central building was modern and set up for visitors to learn more about geothermal energy, as well as, take a peak at their turbines and generators.
‘Informative presentation on Hellisheidi Power Plant and it’s processes”
‘Dana McPherson, Senior VP of Platinum Seminars with Matt Venanzi (MailPound)’
Our next stop was at Gullfoss waterfall. Gullfoss, which means Golden Falls, is located at the upper part of River Hvita. The falls were created towards the end of the Ice Age and are a spectacular natural wonder. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the falls from multiple lookouts, and even get up fairly close to the falls. A small café is located on site, along with a small shop showcasing Icelandic gifts and souvenirs.
‘Gullfoss is two separate waterfalls. You can see the first waterfall in the center of the picture. The second waterfall can be seen in the bottom left portion of the picture’
‘Gullfoss is by far Europe’s most powerful waterfall’
‘Notice the visitors in the bottom left corner. You can get very close to the edge of the falls!’
‘On a sunny day, visitors will see magnificent rainbows! Unfortunately, it was overcast on our visit’
Our visit to the world famous Geysir area was explosive! The geothermal field is complete with hot springs, mud pools and erupting Geysirs. Although the Great Geysir has been quiet in recent years, it’s smaller neighbor, Strokkur gave us a nice show and some of us a refreshing bath! The geysir erupts every 2-3 minutes, so visitors do not have to wait long to see the magnificent display of force. Across the road, visitors will find a hotel with a restaurant offering an extensive buffet. If you are in the mood for some lighter fare, you can visit the Café, which offers soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches. A multi-media museum is onsite to educate visitors, as well as, a large gift shop selling Icelandic goods and souvenirs.
‘Here is Strokkur in it’s ‘restful’ state. The pool of water begins to bubble just prior to erupting’
‘Strokkur, also known as ‘The Churn’ erupting’
‘Walking around the field you will see many bubbling mud pools’
‘Be careful where you stand….you just may get sprayed by the geysir!’
Our final stop was the Pingvellir National Park. Pingvellir, which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List lies at the junction of the American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Pingvellir, which means ‘Parliament Plains’, is the site where the Alping General Assembly met. People would gather here to listen to the governing body of Iceland. Today, many people visit for the park’s beautiful nature and panoramic views. Hiking, camping, fishing, horseback riding and scuba diving are all popular sports here.
‘Thingvellir church sits on the River Oxara’