Rooooooxanne! You don’t have to put on the red light…
Nope, hold on. That’s not the Police song I had in mind for this blog post.
You see, on our last day in Iceland you’d be forgiven for thinking we were actually ‘Walking on the Moon‘!
Growing up in Yorkshire, I have been spoilt with scenery and much of Iceland’s landscape could be likened to parts of the Yorkshire Moors and Scottish Highlands. However, the Reykjanes Peninsula Geopark is completely different, and in my opinion, severely under-advertised.
We opted to explore here on our way back to the airport, as we had to take the hire car back empty and had little time, so didn’t want to run the risk of being the wrong side of a mountain and rushing for our flight.
Many of the sites are within a 20-30 minute drive from Keflavik, yet the only one you’re likely to hear about is the famous Blue Lagoon, a man-made geothermal spa, and one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country.
Which meant I didn’t want to go. Yes, we toyed with the idea but despite it being very pretty looking and considered to be one of the 25 wonders of the modern world, it’s essentially an over-priced bath. And I’m a shower kind of person. What can I say?!
At the Geopark on the other hand, we saw only a handful of people on our entire journey. A vast, desolate vista spread before us, full of black lava ‘moon rocks’ and extra-terrestrial sculptures. It was eerily post-apocalyptic, not helped by the lonely road sign that was peppered with bullet holes…
Our first stop was The Bridge Between Continents – another place where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are splitting apart and where you can ‘walk’ from Europe to America in a under two minutes!
For someone who used to have aspirations of being a seismologist, this was beyond cool for me. The moodiness of the sky as you looked out to sea added to the other-worldly atmosphere and some of the natural formations looked like they were straight out of Alien.
Randomly erected along the road side, we kept spotting silver orbs of differing sizes. Pulling over to investigate showed them to each have names of planets in the Solar System, yet that was it. We couldn’t find any further information about them until we got back to the UK, where we discovered (after a lot of searching) they were scale models put up by Power Plant Earth, an interactive museum about our planet and green energy.
See what I mean about lack of advertising?
We also passed routes that would have taken us to sheer lava cliffs, where some of the most recent volcanic flows could been seen and the only place where the North Atlantic Ridge is visible above sea level. Sadly, we just didn’t have the time left to stop.
But a place we did have time for was Gunnuhver, the largest mud pool / hot spring presently in Iceland.
At 20 metres across, it boils and bubbles violently, its putrid steam gushing into the air with audible intent. And wow, does it smell bad! I know, lets’ get some long exposure shots whilst I stand here and let it blow foul smoke across my face…
Super idea Haylee…I nearly passed out!
However, it was really interesting to see the sulphurous waters that turn the lava to clay, especially as it was named after a ghost and attached to a folklore tale. I’m thinking I’ll have to dedicate a post or two to the extensive folklore of Iceland.
There were many other sites to visit within the park, including some awesome looking geocaches. But our time was up and Keflavik was calling.
Iceland is honestly one of the most incredible places I’ve visited so far and I can’t wait to go back and explore further East and North. If you haven’t been and ever get the chance to go, grab it. You’ll be in for a unique and unforgettable ride!
Hope you’ve liked my recaps of our journey through fire and ice. If you missed them, you can read the others by following the links below. As always, thanks for reading, it’s been a pleasure to share. 🙂
A Journey Through Fire and Ice:
Image Credits: Mine plus geocaching.com (lava cave) and Wikipedia (Blue Lagoon).