Iceland - Interior

by Kimp 25. May 2013 03:56

Photo Blog

A few of the first pictures are washed out. It was during the start of this trip, that Jason discovered, my camera settings were quite a bit off.
 
All of Iceland is an unforgiving landscape formed by volcanic activity. It sits on top of one of the hot spots in the mid-Atlantic ridge. The mid Atlantic ridge is where the North American and European continental plates meet-up. There are over 100 volcano's in Iceland and as the two continents move farther apart, one erupts about every 5 years. 5km (3 miles) below Iceland it's between 20% and 100% molten rock.
 
It's location near the Arctic circle creates ample runoff from the melting snow. All of this leaves the landscape, fairly rocky, fairly barren, fairly colorful, full of waterfalls and full of outdoor thermal baths. Most of it is 100% natural and it's a beautiful and healthy place to visit. Fishing has been Iceland's main staple, yielding many tiny, quaint, and sleepy fishing villages dotting the coast, that add just a hint of life, to the barren landscape.
 
Jason and I took a few road trip's to see all the puzzle pieces, that Iceland has to offer.
 
We started at a place called Þingvellir which is a large national park. I had a heck of a time finding it, because I had written the name down on my scratchpad as Pingvellir. It's one of Icelands National Heritage sites (I believe a world UNESCO one as well) and I was still befuddled as to why we couldn't find it, when Jason figured out what the problem was. That first character isn't a P, it is an Icelandic character that is pronounced th. So it is pronounced Thingvelliar in English. 
 
Þingvellir is a natural rift valley formed in the Earth, by an Earthquake. It's a long narrow passageway between two large rock formations. Iceland has the longest continuous democracy in the World and 1000 years ago, the democratic Icelandic forefathers chose this as a their Assembly meeting place.
 
The assembly was a joint Parliament and Supreme Court. In 970 when it was founded they didn't have any written law book's, so they would start the proceedings with some dude reciting the entire law code from memory. Any member of Iceland was allowed to attend and after the recital, anyone could offer their opinion on the current laws, where changes would be discussed or on new laws, which would also be discussed.
 
These proceedings were followed by the pleading of law cases to the court, from anyone whom felt wronged. Punishment for crimes was often corporal and executed via drowning. They would tie a person in a cloth bag, wrap ropes around it, pull it into the cold water, then dunk it.
 
These activities lasted for about an entire month and many Icelandic people would attend this yearly event. It was kind of like a festival with food and nighttime activities as well. Today, key Icelandic events, like the 1000 year anniversary of democracy, are still held here.
 
Adjacent to it, is Þingvellir lake, which is the largest natural lake in Iceland.
 
The next stop was Geysir. Like its name, it is home to several Geysir's. The largest one, called the Great Geysir is currently dormant, but has been believed to have spewed water up to 170 meters (about 500 ft) at its peak. Park rangers can force an eruption, but only do, on very special occasions. There is an active Geysir name Strokkur near by, that spews about the size of Old Faithful, up to 40 m (120 ft), on a clock of about every 5 minutes.
 
From there we went onto Gulfoss (Golden Falls), where a lake drains into a valley rift creating a picturesque landscape that most would enjoy.
 
Then onto the fishing village of Stokkseyri which is a natural wetlands, followed by another fishing village named Eyrabakki. Eyrabakki is home of the oldest house in Iceland and a nice museum dedicated to Icelandic fishing of days gone by.
 
Our last stop was at the Blue Lagoon. The blue lagoon is a very large man made thermal pool. The water is 2/3 seawater and 1/3 fresh mineral water. It has a toxic blue color to it, but no chemicals have been added. The water is pumped about 1 km (.5 miles) down into the earth where it is heated by the earth. All of the water circulates in about 1 day. It was 45 degrees, windy and cold outside, but very warm and comfortable in the water, and it left my skin very soft. Some people put some kind of white mud on their face as well, but I didn't try that.
 
Lastly, Jason and I also went on a Whale watching expedition, which is detailed in my Reykjavik, Iceland writeup.
 

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