Another late night made it hard to get up early today but there was lots to see so off we went. We have hired a car which Josh was looking forward to. The first time we used it I went to the drivers side! Josh turned on the wipers instead of the indicators four times over the day. Pretty good effort! I must say I was terrified on more than one occasion that we were too close to the edge of the road. I could not afford to nod off no matter how tired I was, our lives were at stake.
No single place epitomizes the history of Iceland and the Icelandic nation better than Þingvellir by the river Öxará. It literally means “Parliament Plains” and it is where the Alþing general assembly was established around 930 and continued to meet until 1798. Think Viking Moot with lots of booths (tents).
Snorri’s old site is a sheep-pen; the Law Rock is hidden in heather, blue with the berries that make boys—and the ravens—a feast.
Poem by Jónas Hallgrimsson (translation by Dick Ringler):
The Alþing also acted as a court of law and punishment at Þingvellir was frequent. Place names such as Drowning Pool, Gallows Rock and others, remain as a reminder. Women were drowned and men beheaded mostly for incest.
The Þingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The rock formations are pretty impressive and served as the location for the pass to the impregnable Eyrie in Game of Thrones. So incest is not the only GoT link.
It is believed that Kerid was originally a cone volcano that erupted and and emptied its magma reserve. Once the magma was depleted, the weight of the cone collapsed into an empty magma chamber, later to be filled with water.
Feeling peckish so we went full Icelandic mode and had more hotdogs at Laugarvatn. So yummy!
What an adventure finding this hidden gem! Totally worth driving in and out and following cars and turning back and parking and walking till we found it!
As Josh was photographing in the river, Harry and I lay on the bank in the sun. Some hikers wandered through but otherwise it was so secluded. I tasted the water straight from the river and it was magically pure! Just straight melted glacier.
We met the two hikers on our way out and gave them a lift to our next stop. The car was big enough for the back packs and them next to Harry. Coby & Larissa (if you guys are reading this and I got your names wrong let me know in the comments!) were from Missisippi and traveling for 5 days and camping out under the stars. Larissa has been living and teaching English in Prague for the last two years. She’s about to head home so decided one last holiday was in order and met Coby ‘half way’! What an adventure to have together.
Did you know that the English word geyser derives from Geysir? It’s a favorite stop along the Golden Circle in the highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 meters (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. We watched a number of spectacular eruptions and one disappointing fizzer!
Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall) located on the Hvítá (White) river which is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull. The water plummets down 32 meters in two stages into a rugged canyon which walls reach up to 70 meters in height.
Harry’s favorite spot of the day (besides the car as he is still unwell) was the Secret Lagoon hot springs. They were so relaxing and the beer hit the spot.
So much spectacular scenery on the way. Everywhere you look makes you go WOW. Iceland you are ridiculously breathtaking.
Ps out for dinner tonight and horse tenderloin was on the menu but I just could not do it after getting to know them! So I had lobster risotto with fennel salad.
Tomorrow we move onto Akureyri in the north.