Reykjanes | Iceland

Day 2 In Iceland

Reykjanes

Day 2! I woke up at the crack of dawn (well, I guess it wasn’t truly dawn since the sun doesn’t really go away during the summer months, but it was really early) and ventured into Reykjanes, the southern peninsula of Iceland near the capital city of Reykjavik. Reykjanes is known for its active volcanism under its surface, as well as its vast lava fields.

A map of Iceland. Taken in some random restaurant.

A map of Iceland. Taken in some random restaurant.

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Volcanic rock

Volcanic rock

The remnants of an ancient volcano

The remnants of an ancient volcano

volcano crater

Krýsuvík

Within the Reykjenes Peninsula, there lies Krýsuvík, one of Iceland’s many geothermal areas. The geothermal activity is very powerful, and the people of Iceland have developed the technology to harness it; most homes and businesses in Iceland are powered by geothermal activity. There are hot springs and geysers all over the place, and it is not uncommon to see large billows of steam in the sky.Oh, and theres that lovely sulfur smell that you can never escape.

Krýsuvík

Krýsuvík 2

steam

Krýsuvík 3

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Krýsuvík 4

Grænavatn

A few Kilometers south of lies Grænavatn, or the Green Lake. This lake was created when water came in contact with molten lava, and its green color comes from the high levels of sulfur in the water. This lake is very small, but also very deep, and is considered by geologists to be one of Iceland’s most noteworthy natural phenomena. For centuries there have been claims of seeing strange creatures in the lake, which doesn’t surprise me. Iceland is also home to the mysterious Lagarfljót Worm. Don’t even get me started on lake monsters. I could go on for days.

Grænavatn, or Green Lake

Grænavatn, or Green Lake

Grindavik

Near the ocean, there is a small fishing village, called Grindavik.  Over the years, numerous wrecks of ships have been cast onto the rocks by the vicious ocean waves. Some of the remaining shipwrecks date back to 100 years ago. The surrounding land is gorgeous and diverse; beautiful green hills, volcanic rock, cold ocean waters… What more could you ask for? Lighthouses? Oh, they actually have that too. This area is strewn with lighthouses that have been built further and further from the shore as the sea began to erode the land.

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dead fish

Lovely.

Lovely.

lighthouse

One of the many ships that the sea cast upon the rocks.

One of the many ships that the sea cast upon the rocks.

old lighthouse

To the cliffs!

Near Grindavik, there is a giant cliff (the pictures don’t do it justice. It was massive!) that you can climb, and when you get to the top, the view is breathtaking. The Arctic Tern migrate to this area to breed, and these birds are EVERYWHERE. Reykjanes is practically infested with these birds, especially near the water.

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If you look towards the left, you can see how large the cliffs are in comparison to the man standing on top (he was actually very tall!)

grindavik

Don't ask me to explain how, but the rocks along the shore have become rainbow-colored

Don’t ask me to explain how, but the rocks along the shore have become rainbow-colored

ocean view

See that tiny little speck on the horizon? That speck is actually a little island where the Arctic Terns breed!

Here's a closeup of the tiny speck

Here’s a closeup of the tiny speck

A baby Arctic Tern

A baby Arctic Tern

Þingvellir National Park

Last but not least, I made a stop at Þingvellir National Park in order to cross a pretty huge item off of my bucket list. This is the place where the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian tectonic plate divide. The continental rift actually continues into the ocean, and you can book a tour that allows you to dive in between the two continents! I’m terrified of the ocean, so this was good enough for me. It’s not every day you get to stand in between two continents!

Me crossing an item off my bucket list!

Me crossing an item off my bucket list!

The continental rift

The continental rift

The view from the other side of the park

The view from the other side of the park