After a week in Iceland, I finally awoke to a sky in the strangest color- blue! It was a clear day here, and that meant getting out to see some sights. I drove up to first see this incredible waterfall, Gullfoss (Golden Falls), where the Hvita river takes a deep plunge into a narrow, dark, deadly looking abyss.
The drive here was lovely, open country with views of distant, yet not so distance mountains draped in snow, through towns of less than one blink duration, more horses and cows than I could count.
I was prepared to capture a Gigapan image here but was thwarted – first there was the spray from the falls, then I set u a shot and the rig’s batteries gave out after 8 photos of 45, and my hands were really too cold to deal with changing up.
So I opted to hike down for a look see up close, where ironically, there was less spray than above the big plunge spot. I did get a good set of images across the river above the falls, which stitched nicely in Calico:
And I traded with a couple from Holland on getting photos of myself
There was a steady parade of people shuff. It is obviously one of the prime tourist stops, but compare it to a similar spot in the US, where it would be a National Park with a $25 entrance fee and a lot of Interpretive Signs along the way, This place was walk-in with but a single restaurant / gift shop at the top. Basic, simple.
But there are just things that are impassible
And it was a short jaunt back down the road to visit Geysir, the original geyser from which we got the word. I think I was here in 2000 and it was out of commission, but Strukkor gave a nice little show (though I understand it has a little human prodding sometime).
So even if it is not on the scale of Yellowstone, there is something utterly fascinating about hot water gushing out of the ground:
which is not much of a surprise as Iceland straddles the mid-Atlantic Ridge, the volcanic seam of the earthly baseball, where new ocean crust is made and keeps pushing North America and Europe farther apart (but what is a few centimeters per year?).
It was then a drive down a different route back, through more open, nearly empty land (the novel I am reading has a character who quips that in Iceland, isolation is a national past-time).
Driving home, I was treated to a glorious orange, pink, purple (and all the un-named Crayola colors in between) painted sunset sky.
The only way to cap this day would be a little bit (no a lot!) of celestial aurora borealis.
And thanks to Skinna, my trusty travel partner:
The post "Iceland Shows Her Grandeur" was originally dropped like a smoking hot potato at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2008/11/iceland-shows-her-grandeur/) on November 9, 2008.