We are taking an abbreviated highlights tour of the Golden Circle in Iceland. Iceland for Dummies if you will, or Iceland for cruise ship passengers, who are only there for 8 hours. Dummies indeed.
The scenery is mesmerizingly otherworldly. Enormous barren mountains rising dramatically out of rocky fields of moss covered peat, some looking as if they just plopped out of an upturned jelly mould
Others looking exactly like what they are – the results of glaciers that receeded many thousands of years ago
Churches, miles from the nearest life, just sitting there waiting for a congregation. Some expecting their flock to arrive by land
Others watching for them to arrrive by sea
Pingvellir National Park is the only place in the world where two major tectonic plates can be seen above sea level. We stop where the eastern side of the North American tectonic plate rises out of the ground. It looks like some ancient man made defense, as impressive as anything you will see on Game of Thrones.
The western side of the Eurosian Tectonic Plate is visible just 5 kilometres away across a flat valley floor, but is gradually getting further away as the two plates distance themselves from each other at the rate of several centimetres a year, creating the world’s only expanding park!
And if that doesn’t impress you, then just wait for the waterfalls and rainbows
and the waterfalls, ravines and clouds of spray
and of course geysers of boiling water
All amazingly beautiful, and all carefully photographed by the two of us to carefully avoid the one overriding factor that comes dangerously close to spoiling the entire experience. We are not the first people to want to come and experience Iceland. It is the latest travel hotspot of the world and everywhere is totally overrun by hordes and hordes of tourists, as shown in the following photos of exactly the same places taken at exactly the same time, but without the editing eye
Meanwhile the locals avoid the crowds as much as possible. They head for the mountains where they can continue their outdoor lifestyle, hiking for miles and enjoying a picnic. Not a tourist to be seen, just the occasional sheep. Iceland for dummies, if you will.