Saturday, June 14, 2008

Southwest Iceland: Vik → Gullfoss → Geysir 21 May

21st May 2008
Vik → Gullfoss → Geysir

Via: Route 1 - Route 30 - Route 35

After a mad morning rush at the washroom and kitchen with the rest of the hostel residents, we are ready to head for Gullfoss, Iceland's most famous waterfall before reaching the final destination for today, the Geysir. The total distance is about 193km and we should reach Geysir in the late afternoon.

It's drizzling outside and the temperature is 5°C. Once we are out on the road, we saw this interesting car decal at the back of SUV ahead of us. Click to enlarge the picture and see it for yourself.

Vistas of the Drive

Route 1

This waterfall is situated at the cliffs of the former coastline. After the coastline has receded seaward, the former sea cliffs remain, parallel to the coast over hundreds of kilometers, creating together with some mountains a clear border between the coastal lowlands and the Highlands of Iceland.

As seen from the Route 1

View as we walk towards it

Close up on the sharp rocky moss-filled scarp

Full view of the 62m high waterfall

How small we are at the face of this magnificent waterfall

Continuing on Route 1

Farmhouses built under a huge rock

Gothic-looking cliffs

Some unnamed waterfalls spotted

Route 30

This waterfall is one of the most popular tourist attractions Iceland. It is located in the canyon of Hvítá river.

Overall view of Gullfoss and Hvítá river

The wide curve three-step 'staircase'

Water falls into the crevice, 32m deep

View from a different angle

There is a popular story on how this waterfall has been saved and spared from ended up a dam. During the 1920s, A team of foreign investors suggested that the Hvítá river should be dammed for a hydro-electric project. The landowners, Tómas Tómasson and Halldór Halldórsson, refused to sell, but the developers went behind them and obtained permission directly from the government. To lobby their cause, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson walked all the way to Reykjavik and even threatened to throw herself into the falls if the tribunal decided they were to be destroyed. The government ruled against her, but the investors failed to pay the lease, so the sales agreement was nullified and the fall were saved anyway. Gullfoss was donated to the nation in 1975 and has been preserved as a nature reserve ever since.

After a brief stay at Gullfoss, we continue the journey to the final destination of the day, Geysir.

Click to see next - Southwest Iceland: Geysir 21 May


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