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Old 17th November 2014, 13:33   #16
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Default Day 2 #2: Smoke on the water

The route is simple. Head to the rift valley, where the American and European plates meet, then head to geysir(where fountains of superheated water erupt every few minutes), and end up at Gulfoss, one of the most photographed waterfalls of Iceland. After that it will be a dark drive to south Iceland near the idyllic village of VIK.

However that is the planned route.
As we continue on the highway, we take a short stop near the Pingvallavatn, a massive lake.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00425_lrxl.jpg

The weather is closing in, but its Iceland, the weather is always doing something
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00423_lrxl.jpg

As we munch on stuff, its time to zoom out on the phone, and see what else can we see.
"Hot water lake" marks a spot. Its about 20kms off the route, but there is fuel in our bellies and fuel in the car, so why not, and we leave our route.

The narrow winding road goes along the lake, and guess where we end up.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00427_lrxl.jpg

Yes its the second largest geothermal plant in Iceland.
Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station

The hot water lake is actually "boiling water lake"
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00430_lrxl.jpg

Warning signs say "Do not enter hot water". To be honest, its tempting, but even from a distance you can feel the heat. This isn't your 40 degree C geothermal hot tub. This is the boiling cauldron Satan will roast souls in.
So we have to be content with just taking pictures. No worries, Iceland is full of pools and rivers to jump in, our time will come!
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00428_lrxl.jpg

We linger on for a while. Surprisingly, we cannot smell much sulfur. People from the west often complain of the "hell smell". Sulfur and brimstone you see. But when you live in the city of open drains, it all smell like an all too familiar garden of roses.

As the sun moves across the sky, we realize there is a lot more to cover, and we head back.

Autumn has reclaimed the green here. Very soon these slopes will be bare and white.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00433_lrxl.jpg

The next stop comes very quickly. At 90kmph, and almost zero traffic, progress is always fast.

We are at the Pingvellier national park,at the site of Silfra rift valley, where Eurasian and North American plates meet. You can see the divide, cutting across the land like a giant scar, the leftover of the birth of this wonderful Island, made from fire and ice.

Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00434_lrxl.jpg

You can walk in it.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00436_lrxl.jpg

Only drawback, being near to Reykjavik, there are too many people here. Well, this is one of the perils of the Golden circle. People. Even in off season
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00435_lrxl.jpg


With the day falling, we push off, and find a gravel road. Its barely a km long going to some farm, and with zilch traffic, its time to find out how the AWD performs on gravel.

Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00442_lrxl.jpg

There will be quite a bit of gravel on our trip, and gravel, though fun on WRC, is not pleasant in real life. Even slight over-speeding can send you careening out of control. Thankfully, the EBD and AWD magic keeps things in control with little drama, and always warn well in advance with traction control light blinking.

The rule is simple, if it blinks, slow down, unless you want to be part of the scenery.

Scenery enjoyed, we hit the main road again, and proceed to our second last destination for the day. The amazing Geysir hot spring area.
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Old 17th November 2014, 13:36   #17
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Default Day2 #3: Blow hot, blow cold, and color me surprised

Our next attraction is very very popular. Infact, it is one of the most popular attractions of Iceland. And it needs no introduction. After all its a household name in India. Its the God all pray to in winters, with every twist of the shower tap.

Guess who? Geyser of course. Yes, this is the Geyser or Geysir Geothermal area, from where the hot water Geyser gets its name.

The Geothermal area is full of erupting Geysirs, some every few hours, and the msot famous of them, Strokkur, ever few minutes.

Some eruptions are small, and some are big, but every one of then is quite a sight. Superheated water and steam, just erupting tens of meters.

So as expected, its crowded. But not very much so
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00454_lrxl.jpg

Finally, we can smell the sulfur.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-d70008124xl.jpg

SO where is Stokkur? Well not hard to find, with the crowd. Its just finished a magnificent eruption
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-d70008125xl.jpg

So, what's the plan? Well wait for it to erupt again. And it does
At first its just a bubble
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Grows bigger
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And bigger
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And finally at its peak
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There are other Geysirs around, but some of them erupt every few hours, or even days. No point waiting for so long.

We roam around, and Strokkur does the eruption again. Well this one is a biggie. A real biggie
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-d70008170xl.jpg

I shoot the STrokkur, and get shot too
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-d70008173xl.jpg

WE want to linger here for a lot more time, but the last attraction of the day awaits.

So its time, to move on, a few kms north.
Its the last attraction of the day, but far from being "the least".

Infact, to call it an attraction is an understatement. Its not just an attraction. Its an Icon.
Its Gulfoss, the Golden waterfall.

So what's so special about it?
Well for starters, its huge very very huge.
Its so huge that when it was rented by its owners(yes, you can own waterfalls, among other things like volcanoes, in Iceland) to a foreign company(I wonder what would the advance deposit on that be like!), they wanted to build a hydro electric plant. Made sense from a business view. We see a forest, businesses usually see timber.

But the company ran out of money, and the waterfall was sold to Iceland. There were quite a few rich interests involved and there was danger of a hydro plant looming again, but the owners daughter fought it tooth and nail, even threatening to jump in the waterfall.
Sigrudur was her name, and she can probably be called one of the first environmentalists of the western world.

And partly due to her efforts, this waterfall still remains a waterfall, rather than part of some hydro plant.
And its beautiful
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-d70008183xl.jpg

Majestic
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-d70008184xl.jpg

All the riding today has left us with little time, but still we spend half an hour here. Just sitting, and staring. This thing is really really massive.

But we cannot stay here forever, can we?
Its time to hit the road. But before that, I have to click something in the parking lot
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00462_lrxl.jpg

Such monstrosities are quite common in Iceland. Look a bit funny now, but I guess in a months time, they are going to make themselves useful.

Admiration over, its time to hit the road, counting sheep on the way
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00467_lrxl.jpg

Watching the sun go down
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00464_lrxl.jpg

And the last rays
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00468_lrxl.jpg

We are going East, and behind us, the sun sets. Ahead of us it rains, and the rainbow comes again
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00475_lrxl.jpg

Its a wonderland, as we drive with the dusk, and before the sunset, we get the final glimpse
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-d70008188xl.jpg

Time to put away the camera, and just head East, on highway 1, the ring road of Iceland.

We keep a lookout, but its past 5pm, and most stores have closed. I guess, tonight its maggi!

The sun has set, and its almost dark as we arrive at Reynsfjara beach. A lovely cottage at Gardar farm will be our home for the next five days. Our base-camp to make excursions to the wild and to the tame.

Our host is Ragnar, a cheerful sheep farmer, and he has just finished herding his sheep as we arrive.

At night, not much is visible, but its enough to tell that there is a ocean in front, and a lighthouse towards south-west, and towards the south-east lies the black beach of Vik, with its cliffs.

All just a short walk away. With the winds howling, no point of walking, but no harm in shooting from the balcony?

Guess what,
The picture tells me two things. First, a storm is coming. Time to pack up, no chance of more night photography stuff.

And second, I caught two satellite flares.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_00481_lrxl.jpg

And on that Bombshell, its good night.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 17th November 2014 at 13:38.
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Old 17th November 2014, 13:53   #18
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Thread moved to Travelogues section
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Old 17th November 2014, 14:07   #19
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Amazing as always.

Can't wait to read more. Thanks for sharing this wonderful travelogue.

F5! F5! F5!
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Old 17th November 2014, 14:08   #20
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Great pics and crisp writing as usual.

When I saw this post under travelogues for moment I thought it was your earlier Norway thread that was bumped up by someone.
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Old 17th November 2014, 15:54   #21
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Brilliant pics as usual TSK along with excellent narration. Look forward for more!
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Old 17th November 2014, 17:23   #22
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Its that lazy monday in office after a week long break. I come to office and was day-dreaming about Svalbard Islands and Longyearbyen. So thought of checking tsk's travelogue about Norway and the northern lights.

I click on team-bhp and bang bang !! Tanveer Bhai has outdone himself, those set of pics are just jaw-dropping-eye-popping material.

As soon as I read Iceland, I recalled an article I read about Faroe Islands and now this thread. Iceland has suddenly taken up one of the top slots in my bucket list.

Thank You tsk, I don't mind staying back in office for a little longer to read more about this trip. Bring it on, sirji !!

5-stars !

Last edited by //M : 17th November 2014 at 17:24.
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Old 17th November 2014, 18:06   #23
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Mesmerizing photographs! Brilliant narration.
I had been wondering where is TSK without a travelogue for a long time.
Awaiting for the rest of the travel.

Rated 5 stars!
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Old 17th November 2014, 18:33   #24
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Brilliant photographs and awesome narration.

Tanveer, you sure have outdone yourself. I thought your Norway trip was brilliant, but this turns out even more awesome.

Rating the thread a well deserved *****.

P.S. - Don't keep us waiting for a long time.
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Old 18th November 2014, 07:39   #25
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Amazing Place and Brilliant Brilliant Photos.

I can't wait for more, meanwhile even I have plans to visit this country one day

Regards
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Old 18th November 2014, 10:27   #26
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

This is just brilliant narration with beautiful pics all around. May i ask one thing, since you have taken multiple driving holidays in europe, can you put something on driving requirement for different nation. In the meanwhile i want to know if we need IDP or a Indian paper driving license in English is allowed?
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Old 18th November 2014, 11:18   #27
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Jaw-dropping snaps and equally beautiful captions too Nice read
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Old 18th November 2014, 11:20   #28
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

I was held spellbound seeing those pictures!

Simply fabulous stuff! What a start to the day! Thank you for sharing.
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Old 18th November 2014, 11:29   #29
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Splendid Tanveer. Absolutely love the pictures and the narration! Keep them coming.
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Old 18th November 2014, 11:45   #30
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

The first emotion that came to my mind after viewing the pictures, leave aside the write up was "JEALOUSY".
How can i miss visiting this wondrous land even after being for a good amount of 4 years in the neighboring United Kingdom.
Spain, Holland, Italy and Germany dwarf in comparison with what we get to see here.
Scotland, the mighty mountains, can give it a run for its money but then that would depend on how you plan the journey.
Going by just the pictures, this is heaven. The Right amount of ice and a fire.


Kudos Tanveer.. and yes, you surely have made me jealous and ready to rumble towards Iceland for sure.
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