Þingvellir

Thingvallavatn - Iceland's largest lake
Thingvallavatn - Iceland's largest lake

Þingvellir is a national park in Iceland, where the parliament, or AllÞingi, met, starting in 930. It is located on the so-called microplate, which is a miniature techtonic plate between the American and European tectonic plates. Iceland straddles these two plates, which is why there is so much geothermal activity there. When the vikings arrived in Iceland, it was mostly forested, but they deforested almost the entire island to use for firewood, houses, or to clear for farming. In 1930, they set aside Þingvellir as a national park to help reforest it. It is still pretty barren, but the trees are slowly coming back. Currently there is a small church there and the prime minister’s house.
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Geysir

Bubbling water at Geysir

Today we took a tour of the golden circle, which includes Þhingvellir, Gullfoss, and Geysir. Clare liked Geysir the best. I liked Gullfoss an awful lot, though I also enjoyed Geysir. I did like Geysir more than Old Faithful. The original Geysir doesn’t actually spurt anymore, due to a fairly recent earthquake. But as a result of that earthquake, a new geyser formed, caller Strokkur, which erupts about every 5-7 minutes, about 25 meters high. The particularly cool thing is how it forms a bubble right before erupting.