This is Þingvellir, the site where the Alþing (the Parliament) used to meet. For those of you unfamiliar with the letter Þþ, it is called “Thorn”, and is pronounced like a “th” as in “thistle” or “thanks”. It’s a very useful letter. Think of all the ink we could save if we hadn’t stopped using it in English. Another letter that has tragically succumbed to orthographic extinction in our own language but lives on in Icelandic is the letter Ðð, called “eth”. It is pronounced like the “th” in “that”, “therefore”, or “thence”. I also kind of miss Ææ, but it’s not nearly as devastating a loss, especially given the complications it presents to cursive.
Tradition holds that this site was chosen for the Alþing after it’s owner, a farmer, unjustly killed a slave. As punishment, the Alþing took his property from him and made it a national assembly area, complete with a small island in the river that was designated an official dueling site.
The Goðar (chieftains) used to set up camp in their booths here in this gorge.
Behind this church is a ring of stones that was meant to become a national burial ground. When Iceland won its independence, the bones of an alleged Icelandic poet were exhumed in Denmark and moved there. But because Halldór Laxness made fun of this notion, claiming that these bones probably belonged to a butcher, the burial ground remains largely bone free.
This rock was lava back in its youth.
This has waterfowl in the same abundance that Baylor has squirrels.
Þingvellir serves as a great introduction to both Icelandic history and Icelandic scenery. I hope you like the pictures.