Sunday, 5 October 2008

Geysir in Iceland – the world’s original thermal spout

If the name Geysir seems familiar, it’s because all thermal water spouts across the world are named after it. But why visit the others when you can make the original your destination? Well, partly because it only works intermittently, but we’ll gloss over that.
One of the results of Iceland’s position just above the earth’s rumbling stomach is that there are many areas of high geothermal activity. So much so that most of the nation’s homes are heated by harnessing it.
At Geysir - which has now become a mini-settlement rather than just an intermittent giant fountain – this underground activity is rather obvious. There are a series of bubbling pools - some of which are shockingly hot, so don’t dip the fingers in – and occasionally the pressure gets too much.
Geysir itself has mellowed with age. It generally only starts emitting when there are earthquakes, but just next door is the most reliable geyser in the world.
Strokkur goes off every six or seven minutes, and the anticipation is almost as exciting as the main show. The water slops back and forth, rumbles with inner turmoil, starts to bulge and then... WOOSH! It’s a fearsome aquatic eruption, shooting 25-30m in the air, followed by a swarming cloud of vapour. All accompanied by the noise of a really fat person jumping into a swimming pool.

Getting to Geysir, Iceland

Nearest International Airport: Keflavik, near Reykjavik.

Using public transport: Good luck to you. Most visitors are either on a Reykjavik Excursions tour bus or have their own hire car.

More information: Geysir Centre

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