Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Day 85: Pingvellir National Park to Hveravellir Geothermal Area - Tues 29 July

Day 85: Pingvellir National Park to Hveravellir Geothermal Area - Tues 29 July
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…”

Oxarafoss falls

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.

Took Kjolur highland inland road to Iceland’s highlands. Glorious ice cap in afternoon sun. No sooner had left Langjokull Glacier behind on left, than Hofsjokull Glacier came into view on right. Rocky road through old lava plains, graded but potted and rough, some corrugated patches, usually have to pull over to pass an oncoming vehicle. Not much traffic; surprised to see buses and sets of bike riders on this largely 4WD road. GirlRob got out to take panorama photo, and got a cracker of a knock on the head when the wind blew the door shut just as she started to climb back into the cabin! Blondujokell was a blue glacier in afternoon sun/shadow. 


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.


1 comment:

  1. Really enjoying your blog, we spotted Ossie a couple of times this day, and were intrigued. Found this blog when we got home and read it through. Fantastic journey with great pictures. Thank you