Monday, May 23, 2011

Friday in Iceland

Our personal tour guide picked us up at 9am on Friday morning.  We were going to make a modified version of the "Golden Circle" tour.  The Icelandic language has (I believe Edda told us) 32 letters.  And there are several sounds which are simply not in English, so I cannot pronounce most of the names of places we saw.  We drove past another enormous geo-thermal area after crossing some really big hills (mountains?) with quite a bit of snow still on them

Through pipes, perhaps 36" in diameter hot water is transported back to Reykjavic.  We then drove around a beautiful lake to one of the oldest historical areas in Iceland.  The first gathering of all the clans on the island occurred here, at [a word without the right letters on this typewriter] Pingvellir.  Here in 930 the first national assembly was held and annual meetings continued until 1798.  The judicial system was set up by dividing the country into fourths - 36 farmers were to represent each quarter and then a fifth group of 48 farmers made up the appellate court.  Amazing!  The gatherings were held in a huge field with circles where each tent was placed,

This is also a further extension of the separating earth plates and you can see the high walls on either side of a big depression.
Of course, there is the requisite lovely church, in a little village with a few other buildings.  Oh yes, and of course a wonderful little graveyard.

After some lunch, we moved on to see Gullfoss, the golden falls.  Indescribable!  I believe they are larger than Niagara falls.  With the spray and a lot of wind, it was difficult to stand up.

It's hard to see, but Elaine is standing on the far rocks.  And then we drove back to stop at the geysers, called Geyser.  (a la Yellowstone)  The really large one, Geyser, has pretty much dried up, but Strokkur erups every few minutes,

After all our "outdoorsy" activities, a delightful break for coffee.  Back to the hotel and an early bedtime, as we had to be up at 4am in order to get ready and at the airport for our early morning flight to the Netherlands.  [The new volcanic eruptions on Iceland occurred the night after we left.  Thank goodness for that.]

No comments: