12:00 pm

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As we cruise into the Geysir area we all ooh and ah at an enormous spout from afar - hastily reassured by our guide that there'll be another one within fifteen minutes. The eponymous mother of all future geysers unfortunately no longer erupts so regularly after getting blocked up with rocks thrown by the hooligan tourists of the 50s; in her hey day in the 19th century her plumes would reach up to 170m, and although recent earthquakes have helped to revive her somewhat she was sulking underground for our visit. The big performance nowadays is from Strokkur. It stayed silent for half an hour before erupting in three massive plumes of water and steam in quick succession, the smell of sulphur spraying out over the crowd before the water retreated back into the rock as if down a gigantic plughole. I can well imagine the hot springs as a jacuzzi for one of the Giants of Norse myth, as radioactive blue pools bubble away like cauldrons of potion and steam floats menacingly across the rocky landscape.

The geysers are all well and good if you're into steam and furious fumes, but what I enjoyed most about this stop was climbing to the top of the mossy peaks that survey the area. The summit overlooks a lush green valley on one side and the hot springs on the other, and was teeming with tourists (and myself) taking egregious amounts of panoramas (and selfies). The view of the geysers erupting was admittedly great from up at the top, but I sat for a while on a tuft on the cliff face and GAZED CONTEMPLATIVELY out over the fields scattered with horses grazing and little red cabins, and bisected by the archetypal babbling brook. The landscape in this country really does belong in the illustrations of a fairy tale.

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