Iceland May 31st

May 31st Iceland Blog; By Nick O’Neal

Every day in Iceland was a real treat. Today our group traveled the Golden Circle, which was spectacular, especially since it is the first day we traveled out into the country outside the main city.

We started off at a geothermal power plant, where we got a tour of the facilities and an explanation of how geothermal power works in Iceland! I was aware of geothermal energy before the visit, but I never really thought about it much, and I never knew quite how it worked. It was absolutely fascinating.

After the geothermal power plant, we traveled to a church in Bláskógabyggdt. The church was nice, but I was particularly interested in the house beside the church, because it was entirely covered in turf and grass. Apparently this is something that is fairly common, especially in Iceland’s past because it would protect people from the cold and the elements.

It looks so green and plush! I don’t know why all the grass is so green here.

As we leave at each place, I cannot help but take pictures of every little thing. This entire country is so gorgeous that you could look at a road sign and be intrigued.

Our next stop was a quaint little waterfall at Bláskógabyggdt. The photo below was taken with my phone on the bus. Even if I would have had to sit in the bus the entire trip, I would not have cared because everything was so beautiful.

No blog would be complete without a classy Eric Bryan.

From there, we traveled to a gorgeous large waterfall on the Golden Circle path. At one point in time, businessmen wanted to use this waterfall for hydroelectric power, but that would have destroyed its natural beauty. Luckily, the hydroelectric dam was not built, and the waterfall is still here today. I also met someone who was also shooting medium format at this location. They were using the Pentax 645Z. I had never seen one up close before today.

We left from there to see the geysir Strokkur. Little geysir was adorable, and Strokkur was large and unexpected. I sat there with my camera, listening to people repeat “ooooh I think its about to happen!……… oh no not yet…”. Eventually, the geysir sprang up and it caught me off guard and scared me. I ended up jumping a few inches, managing to snap a picture while I was in the air out of surprise. If I had not set my shutterspeed to 1/2000 s, the picture would have been blurry beyond belief.

I also met someone who was also shooting Pentax medium format film at this location. This specific photographer I had actually met days ago at the pizza joint near Hlemmur Square. We had encountered each other a few times and enjoyed talking about photography. There are so many kind photographers to talk to and become friends with in Iceland.

Moving on, our group traveled to a greenhouse where tomatoes are grown. My favorite part was seeing the Icelandic horses they have outside the greenhouse, but the actual greenhouse where the tomatoes are grown is very ingeniously set up. We even got to eat some sample tomatoes!

After that, Ardis took us to some small geothermal locations around, including one at the edge of a pond. She explained to us how Icelanders would bake bread using these geothermal spots by picking out a location, making a small rock and soil structure around the bread above a geothermal spot, and leaving it there to bake.

Our last stop for the day was Thingvellir National Park. This park was along a fault line, so the land was a little more shaken up here. It was raining when we arrived, but that would not stop us. It rains for short periods of time almost every day in Iceland.

Overall, the day was incredible. When we got back to Hlemmur Square, I went and got a delicious pizza.

Blog by Nick O’Neal