The next stop on the Golden Circle tour on Day 10 was the Haukadalur geothermal area.
This area is commonly known as Geysir after its historically most famous feature, a geyser called Geysir. The word “geyser” obviously comes from the word “geysir” which comes from the Icelandic verb “geysa” which means “to gush.” However, Geysir very rarely gushes any more. These days the big draw is another geyser called Strokkur (“The Churn”). Strokkur proves that it is the much more cooperative geyser by erupting about every 5-10 minutes.
According to Wikipedia:
Strokkur was first mentioned in 1789, after an earthquake unblocked the conduit of the geyser. Its activity fluctuated in the 19th century; in 1815 its height was estimated to be as much as 60 metres. It continued to erupt until the turn of the 20th century, when another earthquake blocked the conduit again. In 1963, upon the advice of the Geysir Committee, locals cleaned out the blocked conduit through the bottom of the basin, and the geyser has been regularly erupting ever since.
We watched and photographed Strokkur’s frequent eruptions for quite some time. The coolest part about Strokkur is that right at the beginning of the eruption, a gorgeous blue bubble forms and lingers for just a second or two, then the actual eruption bursts forth.
My favorite geothermal experience of the day was the part where Strokkur let loose with a particularly effusive gush that completely drenched the majority of the lingering tourists, including Mom and me. (<— Click there to see the results of the drenching). The water smelled of rotten eggs and was surprisingly not scalding hot. I found it highly amusing AND I captured a slow motion video of the entire eruption. It was awesome! (Be sure to watch the video in full-screen mode). I have now crossed “Take an unexpected rotten-egg-smelling shower in a geyser” off my bucket list.
After the shower, we wandered around a few more of the other hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles in the area, but opted not to hike to the top of Laugafell (“Hot Spring Mountain”) as we were wet, cold, and hungry and it was raining.
After a pleasant-enough dinner at the cafeteria connected to the local gift shop plus a wee bit of shopping, we briefly pondered whether or not to hit the final stop of the Golden Circle, Gullfoss. It had already been a very long day, it was close to 7:00 pm and we were very tired and very far away from our little cottage by the sea. But hey, we had already come this far and it would have been a shame not to complete the circle, so we stalwartly forged ahead.
Stay tuned for Gullfoss!
As always, you can click on any of the photos above to see a larger version. Check out many more Day 10 – Haukdalur photos HERE.
If you’d like to watch Strokkur erupt with your very own eyes without leaving that comfortable chair you’re sitting in, check out the webcam that is pointed right at the geyser. As long as there’s light, you shouldn’t have to wait for long. Click there –> http://www.livefromiceland.is/webcams/geysir/