Monday, 5 August 2013

Iceland 3

Our last port of call in Iceland was Akureyri which is Iceland's unofficial northern capital.   We didn't see much of the town but took a guided tour further afield to experience the scenery in the surrounding area.  Our tour was romantically called 'Jewels of the North' and began at the high temperature thermal field of Namaskard.

Did I say romantic?  Phooooor!  Nothing could be further from the truth.

This high temperature landscape gives rise to hot mudpools and jets of steam pouring out from the ground.  The noise and the colours are amazing but the smell!  

I'm not usually put off by smells but, dear me, I had to resort to a hanky over my mouth to be able to walk around even for a short while.  Wimp or what!

From the high temperature thermal field we were driven on to Dimmuborgir lava labyrinth.  This is a very strange landscape with contorted lava formations in columns and arches.

The guide took us round this site at a rate of knots but sadly the video I took came out in slow motion so I can't add it here.  

I'm sure this must be a troll's bridge!  Do you remember The Three Billy goats Gruff?  Trolls are an important part of Icelandic life and folklore and people are very respectful even consulting elf/troll experts before planning a road.  In fact, as we drove along I saw about a dozen little wooden doors propped up against large rocks in fields at the side of the road.  

After a short break for refreshments at a local community hall we continued on to the second waterfall of our Iceland visit.

This beautiful cascade is Godafoss and it gained its name at the time of Iceland's conversion to Christianity.  The wooden idols of the old Norse mythology were thrown into the falls in a symbolic gesture that swept away the old religion.  Godafoss literally means Waterfall of the Gods.  Again you are spared a video as they all came out in slow motion. Duh!

Iceland is the most amazing, vibrant and alive country I have yet visited.  I was fascinated when we went to Lanzarote which had a volcanic landscape but it was not alive under your feet in the same way that Iceland is.  This country is literally growing and changing every minute of the day in a very volatile way.  I have never been so close to the life of the earth before and it was amazing!

Next time, on to Norway but first Festival of Quilts!  Yay!!!!


Maggi said...

Absolutely brilliant photos Julie. Pity about the videos. I'm glad that you didn't encounter any trolls. The waterfall is wonderful. I take it that the smell was sulphur so I can understand why you needed your hankie. See you in a couple of days. Enjoy your class.

Peneller said...

Lovely photos Julie. Thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

What memories you will have of that wonderful trip. One of our daughters went there and told us of the awful smell.
The waterfalls are amazing and I love the idea of little doors for trolls along the roadsides. I should have grown up by now, but it's probably too late!

sharon young said...

A wonderful tour, Julie, I hadn't thought of the smell, sounds dreadful. Thanks you for bringinging it all to life for us.

pam said...

Oh the whole trip sounds wonderful - shame you didn't see any trolls - look forward to the next part of the adventur - the landscape is so varied and interesting.

imac said...

Short and sweet -er- smelly I mean film.

Feronia said...

It looks amazing, Julie. Your comment about the smells reminds me of our recent trip to Rotorua in New Zealand where they also have hot thermal springs...stinky!! I'm looking forward to your comments on Norway - we loved it there :)

Anonymous said...

I've really enjoyed reading about your Iceland trip - it's really brought it to life for me! Thank you. Enjoy the FoQ.

Robin Mac said...

Brilliant pics - shame about the videos. Th smell sounds like the sulphur smell in Rotorua, New Zealand. Looking forward to the next chapter. Cheers