adventures abroad, photography, travel

Day 3: Golden Circle

The temperatures keep dropping (and will as we travel farther away from Reykjavik throughout the day), but it’s our last full day on the tour and there is a lot to see…The dark volcanic land is sprinkled with a dusting of snow that makes the world look like an expansive chocolate crinkle cookie at first.

The morning starts while the day is still very dark, at the geothermal energy plant. A presentation there explains how volcanic heat and ground water are used to generate electricity (from steam) as well as leveraging the extraneous hot water to heat 90% of homes, provide the city’s hot water, and melt ice from sidewalks using the underground pipes.

It’s fascinating, but I still don’t like the sulfur smell. Even understanding that its naturally occurring at some locations and it’s added deliberately at this one, to bind with oxygen and make it less corrosive to the pipes.

Still, it’s a really interesting bit of physics and engineering.

Then we drive up to see Icelandic horses.

I fall asleep en route, of course. I wake to the sound of my name being called, but when I look around we’re still riding and no one on the bus is talking to me. Yes, Lord? I think, remembering young Samuel, and then turn outside. A dark shadow moves at the periphery of my vision, away across the landscape, faster than thought. Do I only imagine that? Are fairies and trolls the way ancient Icelanders explained such things?

I write it now, so I’ll remember it later.

Anyway… Icelandic horses. I know next to nothing about horses really, but Icelandic horses, they say, are the only ones that have 5 gaits… Are least-changed from the original Viking horses that were brought here… Are kept completely separate from other species and potential illnesses, so much so that other horses cannot be brought into the country and if these leave to compete, etc, they cannot come back.

Icelandic horses in morning twilight

After that we head farther north where despite the rising sun, it is just brutally cold. The ground is slightly slick even with the sand that’s been put down and the wind is really biting.

Geyser caught as it starts to erupt. Too dang windy for the plume to shoot “up” vs away. Too dang cold out to hang around for the next one to try to get another shot.

Hot soup for lunch and a shopping opportunity and we’re back in the bus to continue the Circle….