Wind howled wildly down our valley and shook Ozzie all night, and continued this morning - even though sun is shining, we were happy to move on this morning. The remains of Iceland’s Parliament lie in a tectonic rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. According to the Book of Settlements the first assembly in 930 aimed to unite the Norse and Celtic settlers. Pingvellir became the centre of Icelandic culture; thousands of people flocked annually. They set up dwellings with walls of turf, rock and temporary roofing, staying for the two weeks of the assembly. “Merchants, sword-sharpeners, and tanners would sell their goods and services, entertainers performed, and ale-makers brewed. News was told from distant parts; games and feasts were held. Young people met to make their plans, no less than leading national figures and experts in law. Itinerant farmhands looked for work and vagrants begged. Pingvellir laid the foundation for the country’s language and literature…”
This UNESCO site was impressive with its rock wall backdrop, distant views, natural ampitheatre, and sections of flat and gently sloping terrain. Freshwater streams meander throughout, the largest along the Almannagja rift valley from the Oxarafoss Waterfall. Along with other English speaking tourists, we eavesdropped on an entertaining tour guide (who looked appropriately like a Norse God) and his group of giggling, texting school students. We followed the boardwalks past Law Rock, headstones, and chapel.
|Another great assembly....|
Drove on to Great Geysir which last spouted 2000, and more regular Strokkur, every 8-10 minutes. Surprised to find this is higher than New Zealand; water only, no mud.
Short distance on to absolutely spectacular Gulfoss Falls, purportedly more powerful than Niagara Falls (more milestones today!!) Mist generated long low rainbow. GirlRob took camera on low walk to falls themselves while BoyRob took cliff path so we could capture both views. Ate delicious Arctic Cod for lunch.
Pulled in to Hveravellir Geothermal Area to camp. Dutch group came after we were in bed; in spite of all the space, hemmed us in with vehicles and camp tents.