Thingvellir National Park, Stokkur Geyser, Gullfoss Waterfall
On day two, we stopped at Kaffitar for breakfast (the closest thing Iceland has to Starbuck’s) and made a pit stop at a popular grocery store called Bonus before we headed out to the countryside. It wasn’t long before some snow-capped mountains came into view and we were hopping out of the car with our camera gear. We had no idea just how many snowy and glacier-dominated mountains we would see! As soon as we hopped out the car for some photo-ops, we noticed that the ground was covered in moss and had a spongy, almost trampoline-like feel to it. It was so interesting and I immediately felt guilty stepping on it for fear that I was ruining something so delicate!
After we picked our chins up off the mossy ground, we headed to our first official stop of the day, Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir National Park is where the Icelandic Parliament was established and it is also a fissure area that runs through the country. The park sits on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The park has all kinds of trails and some waterfalls so expect to spend some time there if you plan a trip to Iceland.
Next on our list was Stokkur Geyser. I was so excited to see a geyser since this is something I’ve never experienced before! It did not disappoint! There are lots of geothermal areas in Iceland and you can always see them in the distance with their steam rising up giving away their gurgling positions. As soon as you begin your walk toward Stokkur, you are greeted with steam creeping up through small cracks in the earth. Stokkur is a very active geyser that gives you a show about every ten minutes. I loved hearing the excited screams and reactions of the other tourists each time Stokkur decided to burst! We spotted a field of lupine flowers, found ALL over Iceland, up the hill behind the geyser so naturally we went to play before heading to our next sight!
Gullfoss waterfall was our last attraction for the day before heading to our hotel in Hella. Google Maps describes Gullfoss as a canyon waterfall in a dramatic landscape and that is exactly what it is. It is a big, powerful waterfall right in the middle of a canyon and it is beautiful! A lot of the pictures I saw beforehand of Gullfoss showed it with a rainbow shining above it. I figured that was a rare sight to catch and capture. I couldn’t control my excitement when I saw a bit of a rainbow prism from the parking lot! I began running toward the falls worried that I would somehow miss the rainbow sighting, but thankfully when we got closer to the falls, it was shining in all it’s glory! It was a really special ending to such a sweet day.