Thursday, August 08, 2013

Golden Circle, Extreme

Friday, August 26th.  This morning, a lady driver by the name of Rex (pronounced like Rags) picked us up late for the Golden Circle Extreme tour.  Already in the van was Daniel, a photographer from Seattle.  Our itinerary – big rocks, big glacier-going buses, big waterfalls, and, well, not so big geysers.

We had a set time to get to the glacier, so we pretty much flew through ├×ingvellir, a narrow valley between two walls of rock.  What’s really nifty about this place is that you can stand in one spot and have one foot on the American continental plate and the other one on the European continental plate.  Honest!  It’s the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs north and south through the country.  The plates are slowly drifting apart, resulting in volcanic eruptions, geothermal activity (geysers and hot springs), and the occasional earthquake.  Check it out.

The first Icelandic parliament convened in this area in 930 AD, making Iceland’s one of the oldest continuously operating parliaments.  The flagpole in the pic below marks the Law Rock, where the law speaker recited the laws by memory.  The cliff behind created a natural amphitheater.

The surrounding plain hosted the campers who came for the festivities.  It’s full of small crevices caused by the plate movement.  Kind of like stretch marks.

On to snow (ice) mobiling on a glacier.  It was a long, bumpy road to get to the glacier…

…and an equally bumpy ride on the snowmobile.  Good thing Kathie drove.

After lunch (at 4 p.m.!), we visited Gullfoss, or Golden Falls.  Massive and deafening.

Then on to Strokkur, a geyser that erupts every 5 minutes or so.  Waiting between eruptions, Kathie and I watched the guys sitting on the benches with their cameras poised to get a great shot.  The longer the wait between eruptions, the more spectacular the blow.  Fun!

On the way back, we stopped by Kerith crater.  Nice colors.

Back home, we hiked to the little shop down the street for pizza and Coke carryout, the universal Friday night dinner.


Anonymous said...

You let Kathie drive?!?


Pat said...

Uh, yeah. My teeth were chattering to badly from all the bumping around.

Katharine said...

Used one of my nine lives on that one. Hope it wasn't the ninth.