Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Iceland - Geothermal Power Plant (Hengill), Kerið, Solheimer

August 8, 2013
We hit a rainy day. We didn't like rainy days in Iceland. Everything we wanted to do in Iceland was outdoors. After all, we came here to hike! We hadn't come up with any real rainy day ideas either. Today, we ended up driving around way too much...since we had no plans. Later we bought the Icelandic Road Guide - which was a really nice book - explaining everything you are driving by. It would have been really helpful to purchase this before our trip. It might give some ideas of places to visit on rainy days.

Our first stop was the Geothermal energy plant in Hengill. Hengill has great hiking and we were hoping to do a hot spring hike today, but the rain dampened that idea. We had heard that there was a 30 minute tour of the energy plant, so we stopped by - so that we could do an indoor activity. Iceland is a huge producer of renewable energy -, and will probably be the first nation no longer dependent on fossil fuels. The tour was not so interesting. Basically a person walked us up two flights of stairs and answered our questions for 5 minutes. Then we had several videos to watch...blah - and videos playing loudly in rooms right next to each other, so you couldn't hear. They said they had a seismograph (Glen was excited), but it wasn't actually a seismograph - it was just more videos. The area smells very strongly of sulfur!

Right off of Route 1 in Hengill. There are 3 flags at the entrance (3 flags is a common sign of a tourist attraction in Iceland).

Wait...I see some exciting hiking back there.....

Now that we are done with the obligatory photos of the power plant....we drove by a crater called
Kerið. It is a small crater right off of the ring road. They even charge you to see it (there are craters all over Iceland - free). So, we figured we may as well stop, since it was a rainy day, and it would be just a short walk. It turned out to be really beautiful! You can hike along the bottom edge of the crater as well. Glen was so excited to hike IN a volcano (so far we have been hiking along the rims).

Distance: 0.5 miles?
Time: ?
Year to date miles: 204.2

Driving directions: Route 35
Map: None needed
Parking: Room for around 12 cars.
More info: Kerid
Restrooms: None

Hiking Directions: Walk past the booth where you pay to the crater

Sign in the parking area

Another lava photo for Glen

After that, we stopped at Solheimer, a sustainable community. It's supposed to be a really interesting place to visit, but it was a rainy day, and we didn't really feel like a tour in the rain.

A lot of times you will see maps like this - showing names of farms/spots off the main road.

Map of the community. You are free to walk the grounds, and they offer tours.

We rented a GPS to go with our car. Sometimes it helped, sometimes we couldn't find the city we were looking for.
We wondered how good the GPS's pronunciation was of Icelandic. Try saying this.....
 Lodging after: Laugarvatn Hostel

In the evening we stayed at the Laugarvatn Hostel, which is a very nice hostel. We were in a private room, with our own bathroom. We provided our own bedding, but bedding could be rented. Having a private bathroom in Iceland is NOT a given. Private rooms in hostels are still moderately expensive, but cheaper than guesthouses and hotels. There was a kitchen down the hall from our room which was a major plus! The kitchen comes equipped with everything you need, you just need to provide your food and clean up after yourself. There is also a refrigerator in the kitchen. The receptionist there was very friendly. I also enjoyed mealtime, as we got to talk to other visitors from rural Alaska, Switzerland, and Belgium. That is one of the benefits of common kitchens - more interactions with other people compared to guesthouses (unless the guesthouse had a kitchen) or a hotel. The  hostel was quiet, and I would definitely stay there again.
Back in the hostel. We had a spacious room with a beautiful view of glaciers/mountains out of our window.

1 comment:

  1. Looks brilliant. It's almost a given that volcanic nations like Iceland are giving geothermal power a go, because this is a very sensible alternative to volatile substances of crude oil and nuclear material. The rest of Europe should catch on as well, as this is a very wise way of taking on energy crises.

    Ryan @ Gap Mountain Drilling