geysir: a steaming good time

- steaming hot times at geysir geothermal park -

– steaming hot times at geysir geothermal park –

during our golden circle tour, we stopped by a famous hot springs area popularly known simply as geysir. sometimes people call this place ‘the great geyser’ because of the many hot springs and geysers that can be found in this geothermal area.

it’s this steaming, effervescent geological phenomenon that gave birth to its counterpart geological english term, ‘geyser’.

so we, in fact, have a lot to thank the icelandic people for, for without ‘geysir’,  the word ‘geyser’ would probably be described as something else. are you confused yet? 🙂

- a sun about to set at geysir -

– a sun about to set at geysir –

geysir is a thrilling and fascinating place, especially if you are a nature and physical geology geek like me from the tropics where finding a hot spring is like hunting a crocodile submerged in the everglades. just to see the contents of my ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels physical geography textbooks come alive was you could say, quite cathartic.

like a crazy kid in a candy store, i was just snapping pictures of the temperature signs, the hot flowing waters and video recording the fountain geyser, strokkur – known to erupt every 4 – 5 minutes, to most visitors delight. click to play the video below to view strokkur blasting pure boiling hot water 15 – 20m into the sky.

it was so fascinating to me that at times i forgot how hot the water was as i inched my way towards the barrier in order to get a closer look. something just kept nudging me, i suppose. in some weird way, there was even a desire to put my hands in the water just to see how hot it was but of course, that would’ve just caused me enormous pain in the first degree burn category. 🙂

- more steaming hot times...-

– more steaming hot times…-

geysir has been active for about 10,000 years and there was even a time at the beginning of the last century when its geysers just stopped erupting. geologists postulate that this could’ve been the mischievous work of visitors simply throwing so many things into them in order to get it to spout but instead, caused the structures to choke.

however, after a period of inactivity, these geysers miraculously began to spout again probably due to the lowering of the water levels in the area.

- strokkur geyser calm before the spout -

– strokkur geyser calm before the spout –

geysir has also seen many owners. up until 1894, it was in the hands of a local farmer before it was given away to an irish whisky distiller, james craig. this went on until 1935 when the nephew of james passed it back to a local film director sigurður jónasson. he, of course, subsequently donated it back to the icelandic people in perpetuity. a real nice happy ending there, i must say.

so now that geysir is back in the hands of the locals, put it on your checklist as a must-see. it’s a guaranteed unforgettable experience. just don’t follow that strange urge to test fate and put your hands in the boiling water though. the barriers are there for a reason. 🙂

i recommend driving out there and spending your time with the geysers as the tour we were on felt a bit hurried and if you’re like me; someone who likes taking her time with things, you may not enjoy the stress of being herded in and out of the tour bus.

for those who have made it out there, you’re welcome to post pictures and comment on your experience. would love to hear your take on geysir.

here’s how you can get there:
take highway no.1 out of reykjavik. before the town of selfoss, take exit into route no. 35 to geysir. it’s about 60km from that exit. check the map out below for further information or hit trip advisor forum here on the drive.

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