©Wolfgang Kaehler

Iceland 2017 Photo Tour, Day 9

By Michelle Alten

Today we board our bus and, leaving behind route 1, we head for the remote and rugged highlands.  We follow the path used for centuries by Vikings, explorers, and later settlers to cross the island’s interior and reach Thingvillir, the original meeting place of the parliament, established in 930 A.D.  We bump, bounce, and rattle along the gravel road through an austere landscape as we head towards vast glaciers Hofsjokull and Langjokull.  Passing some sheep, Helgi scolds the critters for approaching the grate on the road, meant to keep them away.  “They are very stupid animals.  One thing is for sure, if they get on the grill during the day, they will be on the grill at night!” Everyone chuckles.
We walk through the geothermal field at Hveravellir.  Here the smell of sulfur, the sounds of water gurgling and popping, and the whoosh of steam, belie the region’s volcanic activity.  Later we approach the area where our trip began.  We return to Geysir and Thingvellir to catch these sights in better light.  At Geysir, steam clouds billow from the earth then turn to rivulets of water, rushing past meadows of buttercups.  Today at Thingvellir, the cliffs formed from the separating North American and European tectonic plates, and used as a meeting spot for the early Assemblies, are free from the clouds. 
It was a long day of travel, but we entertain ourselves on the final stretch with a driving ABC game using bird names ending with Zebra Finch!  Our day comes to an end as we celebrate one of our traveler’s birthdays and discover a glowing double rainbow stretching across the valley at Borgarfjordur.

Here is a photo essay of today’s hot springs:

If you are interested in a future photo tour please email Wolfgang at [email protected]

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