Golden Circle is the famous tourist route in southern Iceland, where the tour depart and arrive back to Reykjavik and passing few tourist attractions such as Hellisheiðarvirkjun, the Geothermal Power Plant in Iceland, Skálholt, Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir, and Thingvellir National Park.
I went to Iceland on January 2015 during the winter in the hope to increase the chance of seeing the Northern Lights. I knew I won’t get any great landscape photo full with green color, but I was still excited anyway. I live in tropical country, and I was looking forward to having a winter experience. Of course, I wasn’t exactly as I expected. Despite of full of winter clothing and wear preparation, the below-zero-degree still had its impact on me and I walked trembling each of every steps that I took. And despite reading many tips on facing winter, I still had many lesson learned during the trip, such as buy hand gloves that exactly match your finger and has a special tip so you can still take photographs without putting them off, walk slowly so you won’t get slipped and uplifted to the air like those falls in Cartoon movie ;)
The day I took the Golden Circle tour, I was picked up around 8:30 am. It was quite afternoon considering other tour may starts around 7 or 8 am. But it makes sense somehow, considering the sun during that winter did not shine until 11 am and set about 3 pm.
Heater that comes from the inside of the bus warmed me as the bus took us to our first destination, Hellisheiðarvirkjun, the Iceland Geothermal Plant.
Hellisheiðarvirkjun Power Plant
Everything was still dark when we arrived although it’s 10 am already. The plant was so huge and vast. We were taken to the exhibition room where the guy from the plant started explaining us facts about the plant. He also explains that since geographical advantages benefit Iceland with abundance source of geothermal, it is very economical to produce electricity, and therefore the electricity cost of Iceland is the cheapest thing we can get in Iceland.
We visited the Skálholt cathedral which was built in 1960s.
When we arrived, the sun had already shine. It was a perfect timing. Gullfoss during the winter offers yellow and white view. The plants surrounding the waterfall has turned to yellow and some were covered by ice. The waterfall itself partly turned to ice.
Things to be noted were the walkways. It was too icy and slippery. I walked slowly and carefully in anticipation from epic fall like those in cartoon movie. I didn’t want to be swallowed by the waterfall as well. Suffice to say, I was too consumed with the icy weather’s effect on me.
The geyser in Iceland said to be active for 10,000 years. When it erupts, it can produce hot water up to 70 meters to the sky. Unlike the Geysir in Rotorua, New Zealand, the eruption is natural without any catalyst put into it.
The geyser was in open area, so everyone just watched from the safe distance and wait before it erupted. I waited for about 10 minutes before it slowly erupted. First it would just a bubble emerge from the hole, but it soon turned to jets and spurted out boiling water to the sky about 1 meter before it vanished again. It went like that for several time with the jets getting higher and higher before it actually erupted high about 10-20 meters to the sky.
Thingvellir National Park
This park is famous for it’s a place where North American and European Plates Meet. The crack of this plates visible and often become attraction to those who wants to swim in between the plates.