Taking the plunge – In and around Reykjavik, Iceland (July 30-31)

The Gullfoss waterfall wears a rainbow on sunny days.

Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth becomes a bit more believable once you’ve seen this geologically youthful island steaming with latent energy. Yesterday afternoon I took the frigid plunge into ice cold water after swimming in one of the city’s outdoor swimming pools heated with geothermal energy. There aren’t so many truly sunny summer days here and we’ve enjoyed two. Tomorrow a lot of blonde Icelanders will be feeling mighty sunburnt! Even streets and driveways in Reyjkavik are heated with this green energy source, which makes me wish for some steamy vents in the Maine countryside, too.

 

A truly impressive sight, the River Hvita drops 105 feet over the double falls into a long ravine.

 
The landscape abounds not only with true geysers (a word gifted to us by Iceland), but also with bubbling pools, the smell of sulphur, and strange traces of mineral colors. primarily blues and browns.
  

 

This church at Thingvellir sits on the site of an early church built soon after the Nordic settlers became Christians around the year 1000 A.D.
 
Along with the waterfall and a geyser, we (some new friends and I in a rental car) visited Thingvellir National Park, site of the first Viking legislative and judicial assemblies, beginning in 930 A.D. Faint impressions in the ground gave mute evidence to the temporary booths that housed the gathering year after year for centuries. 

For Christmas, Mom gave me just what I was dreaming of, a ride on an Icelandic horse. Dad went along, too, on one of these sturdy, well-tempered small horses, purebred from the earliest Nordic Viking settlers. The population is kept totally isolated and, as a result, is free of all equine diseases. Even championship horses, taken abroad for competitions, can sadly never return to their native country.
 

Icelandic horses have a gait called the tolt, much smoother than a trot, in which each hoof touches the ground separately. Dad’s horse was Somi, which means honor in Icelandic.
 

3 thoughts on “Taking the plunge – In and around Reykjavik, Iceland (July 30-31)”

  1. Your opening line is a winner! “Latent energy” indeed! Fun factoid about the streets and driveways being heated by geothermal energy. Katie will be jealous about your visit to the legislative site of the Thing… research and writing about it was a huge project for her at university. Glad that your days were sunny and bright!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dad had a super time and our guide was knowledgeable, funny, and a good confidence builder for those who hadn’t been on a horse for a long time, like Dad. Thanks for all the encouragement!

      Like

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