Friday, 30 September 2011

"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water"

Giant Gulfoss

I write this in a heated hotel room with the rain striking violently against the window.

Water in various forms is what I will remember most from my third day in Iceland-mighty waterfalls, rain (yes, still), bubbling springs, icy blue water in fissures, crystal clear rivers with trout and some more rain.

In fact it is so wet here I think I will have to start viewing rain, drizzle and downpours as three distinct types of weather just to diversify the forecast.

Gulfoss is perhaps my most vivid memory of the day. A raging, powerful waterfall that tumbles, layer after layer, and roars as it crashes into a ravine down below. I loved how the power of the fall made me feel so small and mortal. Gulfoss is the full force of nature unleasehed and no photo can really capture its startling energy.

Some of my favourite moments of the day were simply watching the scenery from the coach. We drove through clouds over the mountains, across rivers and through flat lava fields. There are little pockets of forests here now, thanks to a reforestation efforts ("we Icelanders can be very obstinate"). Strange forests of dwarf coniferous trees which are yellow, rather than green. They reminded me of toys.

A river and some of the beautiful autumnal colours

Everything in Iceland is a little otherwordly. Despite the cold, the ground gurgles and steams. Strange blue water bubbles out of underground holes like some giant underground cauldron. Plumes of sulphuric steam blow about and if you can tolerate the smell you can stand in them and warm yourself. It's all very weird and wonderful.

Steam drifting around

The day was punctuated with lovely surprises too. Whilst everyone was gathered around dozing Geysir, we hiked up the mountainside, beyond the other more adventurous tourists, to just below the precipice and were rewarded with an amazing view of the valley below.

At the end of the day we entered a geologist's dream at ├×ingvellir National Park. Here two tectonic plates meet and we travelled from one plate to another, marked by a series of yawning cracks and crevices. Or as our guide succinctly put it "welcome to America, geologically speaking".

A fissure filled with clear blue water

Another beautiful river

A church and the vivid Icelandic autumn hues

The rain continues, violent and heavy. Reykjavik's streets are empty of everything except the Atlantic ocean streaming down the hills and out of the drains. From my room it's beautiful. I've never seen rain this heavy in England, it must be North Atlantic weather. My waterproof jacket is hanging up, ready for tomorrow's adventures in this strangely wonderful place.

1 comment:

  1. What a sight, it looks amazing

    ps you leave the country and a heat wave ensues!