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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Searching for Eyjafjallajökull - Page 4

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Shortly after the glacier hike concluded, we climbed aboard an amphibious boat for a brief ride through the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, a small body of water populated by an extended family of blue icebergs. Set against the sun, this vibrant home to the ice age of yore is a luminescent setting that leaves even the seasoned of travelers in awe. Not only have the floating blue icebergs caught the attention of Hollywood, (setting movie after movie in its waters), but they breathe with daily life, ambulating within the water, just like squirming schools of fish. Depending on the intensity of the wind, it’s not unusual to glide through the lagoon with all the icebergs in one place, which is precisely what happened during our visit.

We returned to our hotel, spending the four remorseful hours on the bus, questioning our decision to push back the visit.

                                                    * * *

It was halfway through the trip, and although I had dipped into the blue lagoon, driven an all terrain vehicle up the lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula, and sunk my rounding molars into whale and shark and lobster, I had still not visited Eyjafjallajökull. It was becoming my own Godot, my invisible pot of gold, the anchor holding down tape to my yellow brick road that never ended. Until the Golden Circle.

Iceland’s seminal tourist attraction, a tripartite of natural wonder, historical significance, and breathtaking views, the Golden Circle is a tour that most travelers visit first, not last, on their voyage to Iceland. Due to pesky weather (“We can never plan for the weather,” a tour guide said, “but at least we can plan for our clothing”), our golden circle came nearly at the end of our trip.

The first stop in this triangular vista was Þingvellir National Park, where the Icelandic parliament Alþingi was founded in the year 930 AD. Notable in this first stop is the overwhelming greenery offset by ancient political establishment. As we walked through the valley, cutout from tall blocks of rock, it felt eerily like we were walking through King Arthur’s court. In reality, we were walking across the mid-Atlantic Ridge, the valley between the North American and Eurasion tectonic plates. And, like almost every other day, it rained. We were prepared this time with proper clothing and protection.

(Page 4 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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