Gulfoss is about 11 Kms from Geysir. The road is very beautiful, with the second biggest Glacier on your left and a valley on the right. We turned right on a smaller road and before us was an awesome sight. All around there was fog formed by the little droplets coming from the Water fall.
Foss in Icelandic means fall. Gulfoss means Golden Falls. The Golden Waterfalls (Gullfoss) are situated in the upper part of River Hvita. The water cascades down two steps, one 11 m high, and the other 22 m, into the 2,5 km long canyon below. This canyon was created at the end of the Ice Age by catastrophic flood waves and is lengthened by 25 cm a year by the constant erosion.Above the waterfalls are dangerous rapids.
Then we visited a dead volcanic crater.
Next we visited a horse farm.
Icelandic Horses : There is something very unique about Icelandic horses. They are small in size than Arbic horses… sometimes looking like a pony.
The most unique is their gait. These horse, unlike all other horses in the world, gallop without moving their backbone. It is just like toy horse. Only the legs of the horse move and upper portion (back) remains steady. All other horses in the world, when move the rider has to jump up and down with his back… but here the story is altogether different.
Click on “PLAY” button to see the beautiful gait of Icelandic horses in the video.
There are competitions here in Iceland, where riders gallop the horses with glass of beer in their hands and the winner is the one, whose beer is least spilled. Hence due to this unique quality, Icelanders are very possessive of their horses and do not cross-breed them or sell them to outsiders.
Enroute we visited Hellisheidi Power Station. Coming here confirms our trust in Mother Nature and her love for us. Iceland is the only country in the world, where they do not burn a drop of oil or a lump of coal for producing electricity. The major supply of electricity for the country comes from Geo-Thermal power stations. We paid the nominal entrance fee and went in to see another unique feature of Iceland.
Nature has not given Oil to icelanders but has given plenty of Geo-Thermal energy. One digs about 1000 mtrs and steam comes out with high pressure.
So they dig at some places put pipes, and bring the high pressure steam to the power station. Result ? cheap and pollution free electricity to keep us warm in sub-zero tempratures. The hot water coming out after generating electricity is supplied to the city and we can have a good hot bath, by filling our tubs daily, without bothering for any extra bill. One Icelandic company is also going to build such geo-thermal station in Ladakh near Leh.
Steam is the life line of Iceland.
There is only 12% soil in Iceland and that too is unfit for growing fruits or vegetables due to low temprature and only 2-3 hours of day time and Sun not showing for weeks together. So they make big green-houses and keep them warm with steam and give light to plants with sodium lights. Tomatoes, cucumber, cauliflower etc are grown in such green house.
Another water fall down the White river after Gulfoss
BLUE LAGOON: This is the most famous tourist spot of Iceland. 3000 mtrs below earth, the high pressure hot water (200 deg. centigrade), absorbs the minerals and comes up, where it meets the sea water seeping through rocks. The resultant hot water (80 deg), blue and green in color comes out in Blue Lagoon.
The water has many medicinal qualities, specially for softening the skin. Blue Lagoon has a temperature controlled pond where people spend their time sitting in hot water, a mixture of mineral rich water and sea water. Silica deposits on corners and people use it as a face mask while in water… said to be a skin treatment.
Our next visit will be to the biggest glacier of Europe and some other great water-falls of Iceland.