Listen, if you want to be blown away by sheer, unadulterated extraordinary amazingness then this is a tour you HAVE to do!! Þingvellir Nature Reserve was fantastic. (pronounced Thingvellir) The unadulterated wild beauty, sheer vastness and wildness of the landscapes amaze and delight. Everything was covered with a new fall of snow, bright, blindingly white gorgeous snow. Everything was fantastic.
And so to the place where east meets west; the North Atlantic and Eurasian continental plate. Whoaaaa. If we had thought it was windy before, we were in for a real surprise at this place!! Fair blew us off our feet it did! People were being blow over, hats were sent flying through the air and if you took off your gloves to take photos, you made damn sure you held onto them tightly till they were safely in your pocket.
It was fantastic. Exhilerating. Awesome. Visceral. Extraordinary. Primeval! Have you ever looked into the bowels of the earth, into an abyss that is millions of years old, at rocks that have been flung up from the middle of the earth by the powerful forces of nature, black and menacing and totally fascinating. I was enthralled. The North Atlantic and Eurasian continental plates stretch hundreds of miles across the planet, ever moving, ever shifting and shaping the land and the seas – slowly year on year, it inches further and further apart, the gap widening but not gaping; it’s filled with a constant upsurge of lava and rock that creates new landscapes just as amazing as the current. <insert : Iceland is the world’s 18th largest island, and Europe’s second largest island after Great Britain. It’s the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge>
Walking through the gap was beyond incredible. It looked so menacing and yet so majestic, aeons of history; we are but a nano-second of existence in comparison to these rocks. After a fairly short time to explore we set off again and travelled along the road that took us from one continental plate to another. OMG!!!! Never in my wildest dreams. Beyond description.
And then what to my mind was the most amazing of all….I can’t even begin to explain how thrilling it is to stand and watch a geyser exploding in a rage of heated water from deep within the bowels of the earth!! Thrilling, exhilerating, amazing, mesmerising….I could go on and on.
I stood for the whole 45 minutes we were stopped in this area just watching that geyser rising and falling, teasing you as it rises into a dome of awesome blueness, then dropping again into a steaming hole, bubbling up and disappearing, bubbling up a little closer to the edge and gone again and then suddenly with a whoosh that leaves you gasping it explodes dozens of feet up into the air; a raging mass of boiling water, so hot it would kill you within seconds. Awesome!!! I was entranced. Only coz Cémanthe phoned me did I not get left behind….LOL I could seriously have stayed all afternoon. At least I would have been warm 😉
insert : <Iceland has many geysers, including Geysir, from which the English word is derived, and the famous Strokkur, which erupts every 5–10 minutes. After a phase of inactivity, Geysir started erupting again after a series of earthquakes in 2000. Geysir has since grown quieter and does not erupt often>
Then we visited the Gullfoss Waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland…..I don’t even know how to describe this majestic, magnificent sight.
It doesn’t flow over the cliff and into the bottomless gorge; it roars, thrashing and flinging it’s way over the edge and into the abyss. A tumultuous mass of turquoise blue water, channelled into one narrow race, the rest of the vast falls frozen over. And it was C.O.L.D!!!!
Freezingly, mind-numbingly, bone-crackingly cold. As you can imagine we stayed for as long as we didn’t freeze to the spot and then ran as fast as possible over frozen ground back to the warmth of the bus.
Three days of the most amazing adventures. We went out late at night to track the northern lights, rushing from one place to another, freezing our asses off for 15 minutes and then racing back to the warmth of the restaurant, a mug of hot chocolate, hands over the heater…defrost and back out again for another ‘freeze your extremities why don’t you’ escapade in an endeavour to see the northern lights.
Cémanthe and I managed to find a hollowed out nook amongst the rocks where we huddled together shivering and laughing, our noses frozen, our eyes drained of fluids by the raging winds that managed to shuck down any opening it could find as our buttocks froze on the hard icy ground. I have NEVER, EVER, NEVER known such cold in my life!! Even on the coldest, snowy day in the UK, it doesn’t get as cold as that!!! Indescribable.
So did we get to see the northern lights…..well yes we did!! Only we didn’t know we had till we saw the photos Cémanthe very cleverly managed to take.
They looked for all the world like a grey shifting cloud….and no-one; namely the bloody guides, thought to tell us that that was the auroura!! I mean hello!!!! I have yet to discover if everyone sees a white shifting cloud or if it was just us. No-one got all excited, so I’m guessing it wasn’t just us that were unknowingly looking at the northern lights without realising. As we were about to leave, suddenly everyone did get all excited and we all piled off the bus and raced over to a narrow gorge and there in the distance were…a cloud of grey shifting clouds….the aroura apparently!!!
Sorry of I sound underwhelmed, but they were NOTHING at all like you see on the brochures, or the pamphlets, or in the zillions of photos we have seen, taken by ‘other’ people. It was only when Cémanthe looked at the images on the camera did we realise that yes, those were the lights. Where were the blues, and greens, and pinks we were expecting to see? I am going to have to go back or go elsewhere…..like Norway!!
Leifur Eiríksson c. 970 – c. 1020
a Norse explorer regarded as the first European to land in North America (excluding Greenland), nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus.
episode 3 to follow tomorrow 🙂 #3DaysinIceland