School got off to a good start, as I’ve mentioned before, and before long it was time to take a field trip to see some sites that were significant to the history and literature we were studying.
I believe I mentioned the Grágás laws earlier. Our literature and history courses both touched on these. Also important to both classes were Íslendingabók (the Book of Icelanders) and Landnámabók (the Book of Settlements), both of which tell the early history of the island. Between the two books you’ll learn about the settlement of Iceland, the foundation of the Alþing, and the conversion to Christianity, all of which are very interesting. Since all of these involve legal and governmental matters, it was only logical that our trip would take me back to Þingvellir. I think you’ll see from the pictures that this is nothing to complain about. The weather was great and the site was as beautiful as it was the first time. Take a look:
If only these tourists hadn’t been so insistent on being in the picture. Oh well.
Look at all the coins people have thrown into here. I’m pretty sure throwing coins into wells and lakes and such is the modern day equivalent of ancient bog-sacrifices. Don’t get any ideas.
So after going to Þingvellir, we set off to see more of the Icelandic countryside. Wonderful scenery, as you can imagine. The first stop we made was in the middle of a desert. Seeing the deserted interior of the island was perhaps the single best way to understand why most of Iceland’s population has never strayed very far from the coast.
I wasn’t sure at first if it was in good taste to include a photo with that glare right in the middle, but then I decided I could say it’s artistic. The glare aside, I thought this was a nice shot of the sky.
Here’s a more overtly desertly shot of the desert. I think it kind of looks like Mars (not that I’ve been there).
Here’s a closer shot of all of the lichens that grow on the ground. Walking across them feels like walking across a lumpy mattress.
The second part of this word, jökull, means glacier. That should give you a hint as to what’s in the next photo. The first part of the word, lang, is a cognate to the Scots word lang (as in “Auld Lang Syne”), and the English word long. So next up is the long glacier.
It may not be easy to tell in the picture that that’s a glacier and not a snow-cap on the mountain, but the sign above says it all.
Following our stop in the desert, we moved on to more habitable scenery.
Sadly, I never caught the name of this place with all the waterfalls.
To be continued…