Day 2: December 29, 2017
THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
At 8:30am meet your tour guide and start the escorted tour program with short introduction to Icelandic geology while watching a striking film at the Reykjavik Volcano House documenting the eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull and Fimmvörðulháls in 2010, which caused millions of people to be stranded worldwide as thousands of flights were cancelled. These films give a good insight into the general geology and volcanology of Iceland. At the Volcano House you can experience a hands-on geological exhibition where you can examine various pieces of pumice, ash and lava from Icelandic volcanoes. Later we depart from Reykjavik for Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, where the Althingi, the oldest legislative assembly in the world, was founded. This is one of Iceland's most fascinating places both geologically and for the role it plays in the country's history and sense of national identity. Thingvellir is also remarkable for reasons of natural science, as the site is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, and is situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth's crust.
Exploring the hot springs at Geysir is like watching a geography lesson in real life: natural springs bubbling away in the ground until the pressure becomes too much – and they explode in spectacular style. Geysir and Strokkur are the two biggest of the geysers there. While Geysir no longer is active, Strokkur still spouts every 5 to 15 minutes to the delight of visitors. Next we travel to Gullfoss, "the golden falls", which is a double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvítá river. Gullfoss is one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls. The explosion crater called Kerið is filled with water and resembles an ancient amphitheater. In the evening, you hear about the Northern Lights from your tour guide. Naturally, once darkness falls, you are out in the garden waiting for the Northern Lights. We stay for one night in simple cottages in South Iceland.
Driving distance: (220 km/136 mls)