Monday, February 07, 2011

Day 6-Golden Circle Tour

Everything about Iceland is so different from what I'm used to seeing, but it's stunning in it's own way. I'd love to come back (especially so I can see the glaciers and volcanoes that I missed this trip).

Today we did the Golden circle tour which took us to Thingvellir National Park and Parliament ruins, Geysir National Park, Gullfoss, and to a geothermal plant.

Thingvellir National park is important for two reasons. First, it's where the first Icelandic Parliament convened each summer starting 930 A.D.. The last time Parliament meet here was in 1789. Second, it's the only place in the world that doesn't belong to any continent and you can clearly see the rift between the North American continent and the Eurasia continent.


Walking down into Thingvellir. Isn't the black soil amazing?










With the "Law Rock" in the background. The elected lawspeaker would face the "Law Rock" while talking and his words would bounce back to the crowds enabling everyone to hear. It was at the Law rock that rulings were announced, calendar confirmed and legal action brought.






Thingvellir Church

Looking back towards the "Law Rock."

Thingvillir is covered with hundreds of cracks due to the continental drift between the two plates. Some of these crack are large enough to form canyons, while others are filled with the most beautiful clear water.

This one is also know as Peningagjá (lit. "coin fissure"), as it is littered with coins at its bottom because legend goes if you throw a coin in and can follow it all the way down to the bottom what you wished for will come true.


Our next stop was the Gullfoss (of the Golden waterfall). It is Iceland's most famous waterfall and Europe's most powerful. It's known as the Golden waterfall because on sunny days, the mist clouds around the fall are filled with lot of rainbows and it's supossed to be really beautiful. We didn't see any rainbows or color spectacle because it was raining.





Yes, the waterfall drop is like ten feet behind me. No worries.








You can't really tell, but by the time we got to the restaurant for lunch we were a little wet. So the bowl of traditional Lamb stew was so good.

Geysir National Park.
It's thanks to Iceland and the Geysir national park where we get the English word Geyser from. Geyser is from an old Norse word meaning to gush. While very active today, the Geysir in the national park were almost dormant by 1896 until an earthquake caused them to begin erupting again.


The Stokkur geyser erupts every 5-8 minutes to a height of about 9 feet.



Waiting for Strokkur to erupt.




Yes, the only thing keeping you from getting up close and personal from is a rope ten inches off the ground.






One of the things I wanted to see while in Iceland was an active volcano I wanted to see an active volcano, but this was the closest I was able to come. Isn't the water beautiful in the bottom?






The Horsehair waterfall







Geothermal Plant--It was sooo cool to see how they harnessed all of the geothermal activity. It's an amazing process to see how they use this natural resource.

1 comment:

Meg said...

You're really making progress on this trip, Amy. Less than a week to go. Now, you'll have to update us all on what else has been happening in the last 9 months! :)