We saw three grand waterfalls on July 14. In the Golden Circle the first waterfall was Gullfoss. Guide to Iceland’s video (our travel agent) is excellent. On route 1, the Ring Road, on the way to Vik in South Iceland we stopped at Seljalandsfoss. We climbed up behind the fall. It was not an easy climb because it is steep and slippery. It was a relief to make it to the top. Running out of time as usual we stopped for a 10 minute photo shoot of Skógafoss. I would have liked to climb up to have a different view – but not time! Check out that video too.
It was pouring rain and it was hard to tell what was waterfall and what was rain. I had brought along plenty of rain gear because I knew Iceland has a lot of rain in the summer. The saying is if you wait a minute the weather will change, which is true.
There are 4 sheep to every Icelander. Population of Iceland is 361,313 (2019) which is about half the population of Alaska. About 800,000 sheep is a lot of lamb dinners and wool sweaters!Fun facts about the sheep.
“Due to the presence of the fatty acid exaltolide, angelica root extracts have a musky aroma and the root is used for flavoring foods and beverages. This plant appears very ornamental with wide, pinned hairy leaves and clusters of white to greenish-white or yellow-green umbrella-like flowers. The history behind the name of the herb is interesting. It is said that in ancient times, the root of the plant was brought to earth by a monk for the treatment of plague.”
Geysir (Guide to Iceland) Geysir (Wikipedia) is a huge tourist attraction in the Golden Circle in Southwestern Iceland (coordinates 64°18′49″N 20°17′58″W). We went there on July 14, 2021. It was a very atmospheric with misty rain, clouds in the sky, and lots of steam. There are wonderful colors in the ground and water from the minerals.
Geysir geothermal area is stupendous as you can see by the pictures. It’s very touristy and there are huge buses loads of tourists coming to see it, but I didn’t feel crowded. I had to pop in and see the huge gift shop. We did not need to eat lunch there because I had bought a lovely loaf of fresh baked bread in town the day before and some cheese and butter. I had a collapsible cooler for lunch food for the trip.
The purple Creeping Thyme (Thymus praecox) is called blóðberg in Icelandic meaning bloodstone.
Driving around the Golden Circle took us all of July 14th. The area is so rich in beauty and gorgeous landscapes that I will be breaking the pictures taken July 14th into several more posts.
First we stopped at Thingvellir National Park (this link provides information about the ancient history of the area and some natural history).
“No single place epitomizes the history of Iceland and the Icelandic nation better than Þingvellir by the river Öxará.At Þingvellir – literally “Assembly Plains” – the Alþing general assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene there until 1798. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at Þingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. Today Þingvellir is a protected national shrine. According to the law, passed in 1928, the protected area shall always be the property of the Icelandic nation, under the preservation of the Alþing.
The Þingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth’s crust.”
Here is Wikipedia’s Thingvellirinformation. It is such a fascinating place. The geology fascinates me. My major in college was geology. I wish we had more time to explore but we had to push on to other grand sites.