July 11, 2012
This was our penultimate day in Iceland. Our last full day before returning to the USA. We wanted to see some countryside, and we wanted to get some exercise.
We decided to drive up the road a few kilometres northwest of Selfoss to visit the famous “hot springs capitol of the world”: the town of Hveragerði.
On the drive there, we saw steam rising out of the ground here and there and all around. This town is in the middle of a very active area of volcanic hot springs. They just seem to be everywhere…and they are well-used. In Hveragerði, they heat homes and green houses.
Upon arrival, we first stopped for a cup of coffee (of course) and a quick play on the little playground in front of the town’s bakery and tourist shops. I also picked up a few more wool sweaters. Can one ever have enough?
Next, we found a beautiful spot to take our obligatory family photo. We decided to sport our Icelandic sweaters and pose in front of a waterfall (of course!).
Then, we put the sweaters away, put on the ergo carriers, and ventured out for a long walk through the countryside. We had a lovely brochure from the tourist info place with suggested walking routes on a detailed map — perfect!
We wandered out of town, over the river, and into the woods at the base of the nearby mountains.
Through the woods…
…and into a meadow.
We wandered by several geothermal vents and hot springs. Some were recently created in an earthquake just a few years ago (this area has lots of earthquakes), and were roped off with lots of signs warning of the high temperatures and noxious gases present. Spooky! It was creepy to approach them and hear them boiling or steaming.
Then on the absolute opposite side of the town, we approached and crossed the river again.
This river, fed by hot springs, is like primordial ooze. It is just full of all different colors of underwater plants and algae, swaying along with the current.
And then there were more hot springs. Here, we saw the remains of what looks to be a mini geothermal plant
And a dam which was clearly popular with the teen crowd. There were many enjoying the fresh air (well, the fresh, sulfurous air!), flowing water, and sunshine.
We followed the river until we arrived back at the falls where we took our family photo.
We were parked next to a beautiful little memorial garden.
This was a perfect walk through some beautiful and awe-inspiring natural wonders.
Next up: the geothermal park!