Friday, 27 March 2015

March 26 - The Golden Circle

I woke up this morning just as it started to snow.  It came down a lot heavier than it did in Oslo yesterday.  It was still going after breakfast and when I got picked up for the Golden Circle Tour.  I was up the very front of the bus (a coach) and this was the view of the road.  I didn't envy our driver but I suppose he was used to it.

Our guide was quite funny when you could understand his accent.  Apparently there is no Royal Family in Iceland because there are no frogs.  He asked each one of us where we were from as we boarded the bus.  Once we started, he asked us if we wanted to know where he was from and then pointed out the maternity wing at the hospital as we drove passed.  He also told us his name, which was very long and unpronounceable, so he said his friends call him Hussy, however considering in what it means in English told us to call him Hershey like the chocolate because he is sweet.

Our first stop was organically grown greenhouse tomato plantation.  It was snowing heavily and I got quite wet going from the bus to the door 10m away.  I did try a Virgin Mary and it was delicious.  Apparently the hot soup and fresh bread was to die for as well.  Rather than stay and listen to the talk about growing tomatoes I went outside to enjoy the fresh snow.  It had stopped snowing and was relatively warmish. '

I just have to say that I have noticed all the coaches have mustaches on them.  Each coach has a different mustache.  This was my coach.  We have Movember for men's cancer research but hear in Iceland it is Mustache March.  The coaches get a mustache and on the side of the coach is a note saying they support Mustache March.

The next stop was the Geysers.  Here in Iceland they pronounce it like the Japanese women of the night (Geisha).  Quite ironic when our guides nickname is Hussy.  Just a side note here but on the way back to the hotel I noticed there was a rather interesting museum: click here to check it out for yourself.  Don't think I will be going there in a hurry.

Back to the geysers.  There was so much steam around due to the cold that it was difficult to get a photo that actually showed something.  I have had to play around with them a fair bit.

This one blows around every 5-10 minutes.  The first time I saw it blow, it was tiny, the second time it went up about 8m but I chopped the top off it.  The next time was small again.  I had been standing there for a while and only with my pull over on.  It was really starting to get cold as the snow clouds were coming.  I didn't even have my gloves with me as I left them on the bus.  Eventually this one decided to blow and I hoped to God it was in focus because I was not sticking around any longer to freeze.

You can see the steam coming out of the ground here.  There is water in the foreground which runs along side the road and can be anywhere from 80-100 degrees celcius.

The next stop was 10 minutes down the road.  It is called Gullfoss.  Foss meaning waterfall.  The best view was at the bottom of 140 steps. Might I add that they were icy.  The first few steps and the last few were the worst.  The rest were ok.  For those who know me in person, you know that I have a permanent argument with steps.  I either fall up or fall down them.  These ones must not have understood English because I managed to not go for a slide.

This view of the falls is from a look out before you go down the stairs.

This is at the bottom of the stairs.  The water runs into a huge canyon.  It is so deep that you can't see the bottom even from the lookout above.

 If you watch Throne of Thorns then you may recognise some of these next photos as the"wall"is used in the show a lot apparently.  This place is called Parliament (I will explain why later).  You can see that one side is really high and the other side is low and in fact sinking.  This is the fault line between the American and the European tectonic plates.  The American one is pulling west and the European one is pulling East.  The high side is the American plate.

It is this area here that is known as Holy Ground and what gave the area the name of Parliment.  You see due to there being no Frogs and therefore no royalty, the early Icelanders came up with a form of democracy.  Issues were taken to Parliment (this spot) to be heard.  One of the issues to come here was when Icelanders decided to become Christian and leave behind their Pagan ways.  It was decided that only one law could govern the land and Christianity was chosen.  There is more to the story which includes a volcano erupting and so on but I found it interesting that those who were Pagan, agreed and gave up their believes.  There were three conditions though: 1. You could still worship your chosen God but in private; 2. You could eat horse meat (Christians didn't); 3 if a child was born that could not look after itself when it came of age then it was ok to return the child to God.  Yes harsh times but we are talking about 2000BC here.  Anyway the below area has a great echo which is why it was chosen.  It meant that large crowds could be addressed and all could hear.

Of course there is a church on the other side of the river.

At the end of the walk you go up a steep hill to a look out.  It is an amazing view,  In the photos below you can see the differences in height of the two tectonic plates.

Finally to get some much needed rest in time for another adventure at the Blue Lagoon tomorrow.  In the words of some one with good English and a sign I saw in a shop window:

1 comment:

Joanne Huffman said...

Very cool to know about how Iceland adopted Christianity. The geysers must be interesting to see. I'm enjoying your posts.