Written August 25, 2012
We landed in Iceland at 6:30 on a cold drizzly morning trying to remind ourselves that this was still summer. The weather was more like something you would expect in late November, gray skies with a chill in the air that cuts to the bone when you’re tired and hungry. With plenty of time to get to our destination we took a spin through Reykjavik. Snapped a couple of pics of the concrete cathedral and the quaint city center (noting that there was no place to get breakfast) before heading out to the Golden Circle.
Pingvellir lake is a short hours drive outside of the capital through green volcanic lowlands – moss covered rocks. As the morning wore on more tour busses appeared on the two lane road, ferrying loads of tourists to the small visitor center at the edge of the lake and the start of the Pingvellir historic district.
Looking across the waterway and open plains marred by rock fissures jutting through the otherwise gently rolling landscape – the result of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates pulling apart –
it’s hard to believe that this was the birthplace of the Viking legal system. The Icelandic parliament was established on this site in 930. While not much remains today, signs noting historic points of interest lead tourists through highlights of the area.
Pool where women were drowned for incest and infanticide.
Still tired, cold and hungry we take a quick look and continue on to Laugarvatn to get something to eat. With not much else open at 11AM we find a fantastic ginger soup at the Fontana baths (turn right at the first junction in town and follow the road to the lake). Still exhausted and not able to check in to the B&B until after 1pm, we stop at one the many pullout points along the narrow road that heads back to Pingvellir to shut our eyes for a few minutes. Bellies full we both fall sound asleep.
Rested, we take a walking tour of the historic area.
Pathways lead through the jagged fissures, full of lake vistas and ending at a powerful waterfall.
The brisk walk in the cool air is enough to get the blood pumping and ease the jetlag.