Everything we heard and read recommended we take something called “The Golden Circle Tour” when we were in Iceland—so we did! It was a great way to expose ourselves to the beautiful, natural wonders of the country.
You probably know that Iceland is a place of fire and ice. There is a ton of geothermal activity on the island.
We had a darling guide who was very proud of her Viking roots! She did a great job of sharing the natural history as well as the history of the settlement of Iceland. Here we are at Pingvellir National Park.
Did you know that Iceland lies above the tectonic plates that separate North America and Europe? AND, the movement of the plates is causing the land beneath Iceland to drift apart a few centimeters a year!?! What you see below is one side of drift area. The other side is a few kilometers away! But, that natural gap you see here, is a very significant place.
The early Vikings gathered here once a year to meet and make laws—the first parliament of Iceland! Those wanting to make speeches stood where our guide is standing, and everyone could hear as the sounds would echo off the natural stone walls of the place!
We walked through the park and enjoyed the beauty of the rough landscape.
Our next stop was Gullfoss—the Golden Waterfall. Now, I have to tell you, I’ve been to some pretty windy places in my life, but this was by far the windiest! It was an effort just to stay upright. But, the falls was definitely worth it. This is just a peek, As you approach, it looks as though it disappears into the ground.
Here’s a broader view of the falls. At one time there was a threat of turning the falls into a hydroelectric facility, but, luckily, that didn’t happen and now it is protected.
Skaholt was the seat of religion in Iceland for centuries. There have been six churches on this site, the first built in 1056. The current church dates from 1963.
It has beautiful stained glass windows and this Jesus mural behind the altar.
Geysir is the name of this geyser, and the origin of the word “geyser!” It erupted three times in the short time we were there.
This last photo was just for fun. One of my favorite children’s stories is The Old Woman and the Pig. In it, she buys a pig and must cross a stile to get back home, but the pig won’t cross the stile. She solicits help from a number of animals and objects, and as your reading, the sentences get longer and longer (similar to the House That Jack Built) ending with, …”doggy, doggy, bite piggy. Piggy won’t go over the stile and I shan’t get home tonight!” I love to recite it for my grandchildren, who, I’m sure, have no idea what a stile is! Now I can show them.
So, if you want to know how the story ends, here it is! ”The cat started to chase the rat, the rat started to gnaw the rope, the rope started to hang the butcher, the butcher started to kill the ox, the ox started to drink the water, the water started to quench the fire, the fire started to burn the stick, the stick started to beat the doggy, the doggy bit the piggy, the piggy went over the stile and the old woman finally got home that night!