What a wonderful few days in a magic land.
Today on the train I was drawing pictures and making lists of everything I could remember…the Blue Lagoon, Gull Foss, Geysir, volcanoes old and new, the [ahem] unique Phallological Museum, tooling around Reykjavik by bike and evidence of Vikings everywhere! All I can say is that if life ever hands you the opportunity to visit this marvellous place, go. You will be made most welcome.
A tiny glimpse:
This is Gull Foss — the Golden Falls that rush beside and through Iceland’s great rift. This country is entirely volcanic, being in the unique position right at the confluence of the North American and European tectonic plates. Iceland is slowly being pulled apart — at a rate of about 2 cm every year — and the great rift is where it happens.
Nearby to Gull Foss is Thingvillr, an important place in the history of Iceland. It was here the world’s first parliament met, where decisions were made and covenants kept. Miscreants were drowned for their crimes in these translucent waters, and marriages were made and celebrated.
Right in the heart of the rift valley, Thingvillr fills your eyes with the most amazing landscape. The current President has his summer house here, where the land has cracks that have never been explored. Apparently the cave diving is incredible. I don’t think I’d have the courage to try.
Speaking of the waters, these are the waters of the Blue Lagoon. This is a volcanic hot spring, enormous in size, a small part of which has been walled off for human use. The waters are rich in sulphur and silica and have traditionally been used to bring relaxation and health back to those who bathe in them. This is a hot springs culture — every neighbourhood and small village has a pool, and every pool has a ‘hot pot’, but the Blue Lagoon is really something special.
Back in the city, the sky darkened enough one night for me to get this shot of moon rise:
Reykjavik was rife with adventure. I will spare you the photos I took from the Phallological Museum, but suffice to say I believe the Icelandic National Handball team are … well-represented there. It was QUITE the interesting experience, and an hysterical way to spend a rainy hour.
Instead I offer you a shot of the home of some of the Hidden Ones, the elven people who can only be seen by very few believers. This particular rock had been the source of many construction woes at the site where it was uncovered. When an expert was brought in, it was decided that the hidden ones who lived inside needed relocating to a place of their own choosing. Once the rock was moved to the centre of town among several houses and by a children’s park, the construction proceeded unimpeded. Such is the power of the Hidden People.
I’ll finish with the moment, long after midnight one night, when I watched the sun dip –briefly! — into the North Atlantic:
Didn’t stay down there for long, however. Sun rose again before 3.
Takk, Iceland. I will never forget you!