Europe | Iceland | South | Skálholt – Iceland: Day 2
After packing up my tent under a miserable looking sky I make my way further north-east to Skálholt where I take a look at a cute little church in green fields surrounded by mountains. A simple white structure with beautiful stained-glassed windows and a modern mosaic of our old pal J.C behind the altar. The arrival of 3 tourist coaches encourages me on my way toward Geysir (http://www.geysircenter.is
/english/index.html). The sun came back out again to shine brightly off a low read hill on my left it’s amazing the colours that the earth can be and of course they’re so much more noticeable here due to the sparseness of the vegetation.
I hit my first gravel road, ‘This is not so bad, what’s all the fuss about!’ But after a while I have to try and hide that little thought that tells me that I’d be going much faster on a hard surface.
Visiting Geysir gave me a strange mixture of feelings. On the one hand I was totally freaked out by walking past crusty red/orange clay with small boiling pools of water and vents where steam rushed from the earth below. Totally amazing to realise that the earth is a living thing, a dangerous living thing that deserves our respect this is why I felt slightly nauseated at the hoards of tourists (yes! I know I’m one too!) squealing every time Strokkur erupted, shooting hot water and steam 20m into the air it’s especially upsetting considering near by Geysir (that which gave it’s name to all the Geysers in the world) no longer does anything more than simmer and the occasional burp – it’s so clogged up with empty soap packets and bits of rubbish that people have thrown in to trying to set it off.
A little further along the road is Gulfoss, probably the most visited waterfall in Iceland. Along with Geysir and ?ingvellir it makes up ‘The Golden Circle’ a tour easily done in a day from Reykjavík, which is partly the reason for its popularity. Make no mistake though, this is an impressive body of water, roaring loudly as it thunders down from a higher, colder region in the north. Doubling back I pass pointy, purple mountains on my right that hold back a glacier that I think might be Langjökull. It’s really hard to tell distances here, the air is so clear and it feels like you could see forever.
Back on to a gravel road heading south I cross the river that Gulfoss turns in to it’s water now a pale, opaque green that meanders through scree before passing under the bridge that is built over large, smooth cornered, brown rocks.