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Iceland - The South West, Land of Fire and Ice - Part 1

- By Shounak Mondal   .   May 20, 2018   .   

March 22, 2018 - Iceland

The long flight from Hong Kong to Helsinki in Finland and then to Iceland was almost about to conclude. As we approached Iceland, the terrain immediately but unsurprisingly turned snow laden and white. After all this was Iceland.

 

The large smoke vents on the left clearly showing first signs of tectonic activity and the Blue Lagoon - . the most popular geothermal spa in Iceland can be seen on the right of the image.

 

Our plane was nearly about to land and the landscape changed to barren and volcanic soil with the Ring road clearly seen from the top. This is the road we would be driving on for about 3000 kms all around the country.

 

Back on land in Reykjavik - this is a very interesting 3D map of Iceland built on top of a massive table. Its very detailed and an accurate representation of the entire country. We would truly appreciate the map at the end of our trip going around the table, identifying the cities and places where we stayed, the glaciers and the roads we drove on.

 

The unique terrain at Pingvellir. The ridge on the right is the European tectonic plate and the the one on the left is the American plate ! We were actually walking right in between two continents. The line where these two plates meet passes right through Iceland. In fact, this is the reason why the country exists. The constant friction between the plates caused thousands of volcanic erruptions over the years which led to the formation of Iceland ! For the more adventurous ones, here is an experience taking it one step further to an unforgettable dive between the two continents at the clear waters of the Sifra Rift.

 

 

Next stop was Kerid Crater. Its was a stunning view from the top on the edge of the "caldera" or the rim of the crater. In March/April, the lake is frozen. In summer, the color of the lake is bright acquamarine blue. Most of the egde from the top to bottom is steep except one side which has a gentle slope and once can easily descend all the way to the bottom.

 

The caldera is about 55 m deep but the lake itself is shallow at about 7 m depth. It was a pity that it started snowing heaviliy and I could not get to fly my drone to get a top view of the crater but Kerid was defintely worth visiting.

 

We kept driving on the ring road and arrived at our first waterfall in Iceland - Gullfoss. This is a mightly waterfall - one of the most powerful in Iceland. During winter, some of the paths closer to the waterfall is closed, but its still a magnificant view with two mighty cascades thundering down below.

 


This is the Strokkur Geysir. It vents out hot water and steam to a height of about 15-20 meters on an average every 7-10 minutes. The area has numerous other smaller vents and smells of sulphur. 

And with Þingvellir, the Geysers and Gullfoss - we completed the Golden circle tour which is what most tourists end up doing in case they come over for a short visit to Iceland.

 

 

Our total road trip of about 3000 Kms

 

 

Note : Island is one of the if not THE most expensive countries in the world. Don't buy water from departmental stores. The water is pure and drinkable..

Written By Shounak Mondal

Lives in Hong Kong. Avid traveler ( 30+ countries and counting ), amateur photographer and writer Discovers purpose and meaning in life through travel.

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Shounak Mondal

Lives in Hong Kong. Avid traveler ( 30+ countries and counting ), amateur photographer and writer Discovers purpose and meaning in life through travel.

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