After Gullfoss, and waiting for EXTREMELY late stragglers to get back on the bus...which, seriously people, what is up with that? You know the time to be back at the bus: pay attention and plan accordingly! We then drove over to the Haukdalur Valley which is full, full I say, of geothermal activity. On the steaming slopes of Laugarfjall are more than 40 hot springs, mud pots, geysers and other fumaroles.
The biggest one: Geysir, from which all other geysers got their name, does not erupt very often. Wikipedia says 4-5 times a day but in actuality it has nearly ceased to erupt. When there is volcanic or quake activity in the area it jolts back to life again, but while we were there it simply steamed. It's "grandson" Strokkur, was much more exciting: blowing its jet-action every 5 MINUTES or so and we got to watch it spew about a dozen times while we were there.
The circular basin it lies in holds boiling water and steams fiercely as it laps up and down, the water sometimes nearly disappearing into the hole before belling up in a giant blue bubble that bursts and shoots boiling water between 14 and 40 meters into the air. At one point, we were standing just inside the line of fire (so to speak) and hot water splattered onto our heads in huge drops. Yow! It was HOT!
We walked up to the geyser area, I told the kids to turn around so I could take a photo of them and right as they did, it exploded. "MOM!" they cried, "You made us miss it!"
Thar she blows!
Is that a geyser in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
And of course, here's a lovely video, taken with my iPhone, just as Strokkur erupts!