Published: August 27th 2008August 16th 2008
A walk between two continents.
Now I finally understood this plate tectonic stuff or did I?
We started our Iceland adventure on a busy Friday evening at Heathrow. The flight to Reyjavik was smooth and we were soon there. Our first accommodation was at the university just across from the main cathedral. Memories of 1970's college halls of residence came flooding back. The furniture even looked the same.
We awoke throughout the night to the sound of what seemed to be a seal clapping but in the morning it was only the metal wires of the flag pole outside. Rekjavik was dull and gloomy but as an optimist I knew the weather would cheer up. They have a saying in Iceland that if you don't like the weather then just wait 15 minutes. (Rekjavik seemed a rather plain, uninteresting place but then I am not much of a town person and the clubs and night life doesn't attract me. I couldn't wait to get out to the amazing landscapes ahead! )
It took a little longer than that but we weren't dissappointed. Our first visit was to the Thingvellir National Park. The wind whirled around us as we walked on no man's land between America and Europe. Now finally I understood all that A level
geography about plate tectonics!! Thingvellir meant 'Parliament Plains' and was the site of Iceland's first National Assembly in 930. It lies in a rift valley with the river Oxara flowing past. It had a very ancient feel and was quite atmospheric.
We travelled onto the most beautiful waterfall I had ever seen. Now I know there are over 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland and this was the first of many. Gullfoss or the ' Golden Falls' was just beautiful. This rainbow waterfall came up to all expectations and even the sun shone to welcome us. It's strange when you see a photo of a place and then actually visit it. I remember seeing the Eifel tower in Paris and being so disappointed. However, this waterfall came up to all expectations and more. The sun shone and chose to create an amazing rainbow across the falls. We had the glamour shots taken by the waterfall and at least they looked OK. Later photos this holiday were more and more bad hair days! We enjoyed the peacefulness of the falls and were pleasantly surprised with the lack of people. Health and saftey was out the window which was pleasantly surprising. No
I think this is the most beautiful waterfall or will I change my mind tomorrow?
charge to see the falls and no fences or ropes to keep you from the edge. Just good old common sense! We walked up to the viewing point and saw the falls from another perspective. A small light aircraft flew over banking towards the waterfall and I wonder how much that flight must have cost?
Iceland's population was not much more than our home town area and tourists weren't in great numbers. We moved on to our last visit of the day to the geysir springs. The largest spring was uncooperative and although has spouted in recent years has now calmed down again. The Butter Churn or 'Strokkur' spouted on time up to 70 feet every 5-7 minutes. It was most annoying to wait with your finger on the camera button! and the trick was to get the photos right. The sky turned blue for us and we managed to catch a few good pictures. The water was very hot and many people did not keep to the paths. Tourists have been quite badly burnt in recent years due to their curiosity! Again there were few people there so most photos looked good.
There are more photos below