Monday, April 1, 2013

Iceland 2013: Part 2

* To check out Part 1, click this link
**All pictures below include captions. Please note that not all pictures were taken by me. To differentiate between mine and ones taken off of Google, I have concocted a handy dandy system. Captions that are italicized are ones from Google, and captions that are not are mine and mine only. Enjoy!

Picking up from where I left off last time, I had an exhausting second day in Iceland, but it was so much fun! The third day was just as amazing and exhausting. Here's what we did:

Iceland has a great and expansive tourist industry. Everything is very tourist friendly, and there are so many great tours to choose from. I remember my trip to the tour desk and just gaping at the massive amounts of pamphlets there were. Tours are something most tourists do at least once on their trip to Iceland. Though it's always a bit inconvenient to be stuck with a tour group, given how big and empty some parts of Iceland can be, it's a good option to go with a tour. For the third day, we took the Golden Circle tour which stops at three famed sites.

The first site we visited was the geyser park. Most of the geysers are dormant and just bubble from time to time, but there is one geyser standing in the center of the park that actually does spray water into the air. It's quite active, exploding every four to six minutes.

An overview of the geyser park. The water here is 80-100 degrees Celsius, so be sure not to stick your hand in the geysers!

Closeup of a geyser. 

I didn't even know the geyser was going to burst. Totally didn't expect the picture to be so good. I just quickly whipped out my camera and pressed the button. Hmm. What say you?

Then, afterwards, I headed to the souvenir shop/restaurant to get some food and guess what I saw? Some crazy Icelandic souvenirs. Ahem. Souvenir, actually. The rest was all woollen sweaters and such.

Heck yeah, a can of fresh mountain air. Isn't that something?

Once we had finished browsing around Geyser Park, we headed off to the waterfall, Gullfoss. It is so damn huge. Seriously. But wait, the place it's located is even huger. The path leading to as close to the waterfall as you can get is so steep and loooong.

Damn, and we're not even finished the path.

The entirety of Gullfoss.

And then, we headed for our next stop. Before I move on though, can I just share one photo? I just adore this. I don't know why...I think I'm developing an obsession with large machines.

I love this so much.

This is somewhat of an irrelevant photo but I just couldn't help taking it. I think this is the greatest way to raise awareness for men's cancer, and so cute!

Our bus is looking fiiiine.

Okay, well then afterwards, we headed to the national park in Iceland, which is also a UNESCO site. Want to know why? I'll tell you: the ├×ingvellir is the only place in the world you can actually see the tectonic plates. Both the North American and the Eurasian are visible. Unfortunately, I had no idea what a tectonic plate would look like so I only have the picture of the North American.

The rough, jagged rock is most likely the tectonic plate.

The other cool thing about the park is the giant pond/lake. It's a gorgeous blue and also very shimmery, due to the coins thrown in there. Legend has it, if you see your coin fall all the way down, your wish will come true. I did see my coin fall down...the second time. Does that count? Otherwise, that's twenty cents down the drain.

I can just imagine a mermaid living here. It's so shimmery.

Since it's a tour, we were on a tight schedule and could only stay a couple of minutes. Thank goodness, because if we were late, we wouldn't have been able to embark on the hunt for the Northern Lights. The tour started at 7 and lasted all the way to 3 in the morning. There's really no set timeline, it's just whenever the lights show up - given that they do. If they don't, no need to worry, you get a second tour free! Valid until two years after your first tour. 

We chased the lights for a long time. At first, we stayed at a cute little restaurant but then we quickly found out that that wasn't such a prime spot to stay so we zoomed to a park. Nope, that didn't work either so the guides decided to drive us home. However, there was some broadcast that the lights were in fact on, soooo, we drove further west to another park. And? We saw them! They were absolutely gorgeous, and it's such a shame I couldn't take a picture. My camera isn't that great. 

This is the closest to what we saw. Sometimes, you can see other colors.

One important thing I learned (besides the fact that you should NEVER use flash to take a photo of the lights) is that they always appear more vibrant in pictures. It's something to do with how long our eyes collect data. We observe things in milliseconds, but in order to get the full impact of the lights, you need to view them in seconds. Unfortunately, our eyes do not have settings we can manipulate so we have to count on the camera to take the pretty pictures. 

Once the show was over, the guides drove us back to our hotel. The next day, and our final day, was spent sleeping in and relaxing before the flight back home. Fast forward a few days, and here I am: typing this out.

I highly enjoyed my short trip to Iceland, and I honestly think it's a great destination for everyone. Seriously. This is absolutely one of the most gorgeous places ever, and you'll adore it. :)

Before I leave you though, there's just one more thing I'd like to share. Something to keep in mind when you do visit Iceland. ;)

Yup, don't eff with Iceland!

2 comments :

  1. Wow, I'm envious of your trip to Iceland! I want to go, but I keep on hearing that it's really expensive. It might not be something I can get to in the near future... =X Glad I could live vicariously through your posts though!

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  2. It is really expensive but luckily, we were able to go when the price was a bit cheaper so it was okay. Hopefully, you'll be able to go one day! It's so nice there! :)

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