On my third day in Iceland, I had a quick breakfast of yogurt and granola, or rather, of yogurt drink and granola. It turned out that the stuff I thought was yogurt, Skyr, is more like a thin smoothie. It still worked fine, as I even like having granola with plain milk.
Outside, before getting on the bike, I took a picture of Héradsskolínn itself (click any picture to see it bigger):
And here is Óli Stef up close:
And here is the peak across the road, without its summit obscured by clouds:
I started riding west, back up Route 365. When I say ‘up’, I mean that there is a long hill that I had to climb as I headed out of Laugarvatn. Here’s a view of that same peak from a ways up the hill to the west:
This is a view looking downhill at the town:
While I was paused at this point, there was a pretty stream off to the side of the road:
As I rode along 365, I took pics of mountains that I hadn’t stopped for when I came through earlier in the week:
I also saw some more sheep, including a variegated one:
When I came within view of Thingfallavatn, I could see what looked like a geyser on the other side of the water:
Soon I got to Route 36, and headed north into the Thingvellir park. A little ways after getting into the park, I turned off on a side road that goes west along the north side of the lake. There I was able to get close to the lake, as at this parking area:
The lake, complete with a fisherman off to the left:
I walked along the water a bit, and observed some interesting seaweed, which was very brightly colored:
It was also very stringy:
The plant life on the ground was mostly low-growing stuff, and not all of it green:
Continuing along toward the center of the park, I soon came to the odder parts of the landscape. Namely, various geologic fissures:
Iceland, and the national park in particular, sits on the divide between the North American and European tectonic plates, which are moving apart very slightly each year. It’s this action that causes much of the ground breakage there.
Around these fissures, I also saw my first view of this long rock wall:
That wall borders the parliament plain (the Althing Vellir) itself. This is where the world’s first parliament met, established in the 10th century by the Viking settlers of Iceland.
When I got to the plain, I locked up the bike in a picnic area, and headed up some steps toward the rock wall. Here are some views of the plain from most of the way up:
There was a path in front of the rock wall, which went slightly downhill to the north:
And uphill to the south:
I followed the line of people uphill, and came to the top of the wall, with a viewing platform, and a good view of the lake and plain:
I could also see Óli Stef from up there:
At the top, there was also a parking area and visitors’ center. I went in and watched a few videos on the history and geology of the place. Apparently, the land in the plain is slowly sinking, which is why water flows over so much of the places that people once camped for the annual assembly.
Here is the view back down the path along the wall, just before I headed down that way:
More of the wall:
Here, marked by the flagpole, is the Law Rock, where the Law Speaker would recite the country’s laws:
Looking down at the plain from here:
Further along the wall, I came to water flowing down from above:
Looking down from a bridge over the stream:
And here the water flows onto the plain:
I headed down onto the plain after that. Here’s a view looking south:
And looking back up to the Law Rock:
I wandered through the little collection of buildings on the plain, including a small church. There is a graveyard there:
And behind the buildings is this mysterious tree:
A wider fissure:
And here there is a diver getting ready to swim along the tectonic divide:
I headed back to the bike at this point, and noticed the lava rocks found around the picnic area:
On my way away from the plain, I saw some geese – a type that I don’t generally see in the US:
Riding eastward, I stopped to check out a couple of hiking trails in the park. The first one took me through some tundra:
There was a cable running across the ground, for some reason:
I came to a waterway which had more of the neon seaweed, as well as a much stranger growth of stuff on and in the water:
The other trail I hiked took me through a stand of evergreen trees:
And then up a hill which has a neat gully cutting across it:
There was another pleasant view from up there (looking west):
Once I hiked back down from there, I rode out of the park, back toward Laugarvatn. At the park exit, I stopped and took this picture to the north:
I had a rain-free day this time, but still wanted a shower when I got back to the hostel.
I met this individual in the hostel parking lot when I arrived back:
It was very friendly, and must belong to someone, as it was wearing a collar (but no tag).
After cleaning up, I had dinner in the hostel cafe, this time getting an item not written on the menu. It was local trout, baked with a cheese sauce, and with fried potatoes and salad on the side:
It was quite delicious, and a nice end to the day.
Next: back to the city