Geysir and Gullfoss

Today we’re on the way from Reykjavik to Geysir. About 1.5 hours from city centre (without stopping for photos). 

Outside the city, for a while the landscape has more trees, not as rocky. As we progress, the landscape changes again to show more volcanic rock. There are sheep grazing here and there, though there is no fence between the road and the fields, nor are there any range fences.Sometimes the sheep are just down from the side of the road, but no wandering sheep across the road as in Ireland. We’ve seen a lot of horses on some farms and some seemingly grazing far away from anything. The farmers have their summer hay in, all rolled up and sealed in plastic. But I can’t really say that I’ve seen any  crops- probably just hay to feed over the winter.

Prior to reaching the Pingvellir national park, we stopped for a view of the gigantic Pingvallavatan lake that is 33 square miles in area. In AD 930, this area (Assembly Plains) was chosen by the island’s 36 chieftains as the site of their annual Alping  (General Assembly). The country’s entire population of 60,000 gathered to hear the laws and to settle disputes, occasionally by combat. The power of this ceremony declined once Iceland accepted Norwegian sovereignty in 1262, but the Assembly continued until 1798.

Pingvallavatan lake 

After stopping briefly, we moved on to visit Geysir, where there are several geysers, the most active of which is Strokkur, which erupts about every 15-20 minutes, sometimes successively. The larger Geysir didn’t erupt at all while we were there.

Strokkur Geysir, Iceland

On the way to Gullfoss, we came upon our first one lane bridge with two way traffic. At least the one in Ireland had a stop light.

From Geysir, we continued on to visit Gullfoss, a two tiered waterfall. It’s simply stunning and the mist it throws up in the air creates rainbows.

Gullfoss, Iceland

Across the road from Gullfoss in the distance, glaciers are visible.

The scenery along this road going back towards Reykjavik is a series of vast fields with mountains and volcanoes on both sides in the distance. The fields vary between some with enough grass to allow sheep to graze and others where there’s nothing but red volcanic rock and large boulders blown out from a volcano. There are a number of lakes of varying sizes that catch the rain in the depressions left from the volcanic lava flows.

Iceland sits at the juncture of the mid-Atantic Ridge, part of the longest mountain range in the world. It’s the tectonic plate action that creates the mountain ranges we see.

More photos on Flickr

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