Iceland: Walking Through Time

The day after our amazing whale watching tour, we boarded a domestic flight and headed to the southern part of the island. We spent the day exploring Thingvellir National Park, including a walk through ever expanding tectonic plates, the famous geysirs, and of course, more waterfalls.

Upon entering the Thingvellir Park, we were greeted by a beautiful rainbow arcing across the sky. A welcome sight to break up all the gray clouds we’d been under for the past week. Unlike our first visit to the tectonic plates, where we could actually straddle the two plates, in this park we could only see one, the North American plate. The other one was approximately 6 km away with the distance getting wider each year.

I walked along the wall of the plate in awe to stand near something so majestic and ancient. I suppose the Icelanders might have felt the same way because the park also contains “The Law Rock,” the original gathering place for the chieftains where sessions of parliament were held. My photo of the actual rock wasn’t that spectacular, but the view around it is impressive.

“The low rock” in the park

Looking across the expanse between the two plates, I felt like I was looking at the land dinosaurs must have walked across, preserved and pristine. Like so many other places we’d already seen, it was magical. We even saw fish spawning in one of the rivers!

The river between two plates

We left the plates and headed over to the geysirs. The smell was a bit overpowering at times, but the colors were extraordinary. In contrast to the brown, grayish earth were patches of brilliant green and tawny grasses. In the middle of the grassy areas were bubbling puddles of burning hot water.

The hot water spring in the middle of the grassy areas

Inside this area of the park was Strokkur, a geysir that erupts frequently, approximately every 5 – 7 minutes. We stood in rapt attention watching the subtle changes happening around the Strokkur announcing when it was going to blow. It was like watching a giant set of lungs breathe in and out, preparing for a giant, explosive exhalation. It was impressive.

Next stop: waterfalls

Next stop, the famous Gullfoss and Faxifoss. Stay tuned!

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