Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The final stop on our tour was Thingvellir National Park.

How it's spelled in Icelandic - the first letter looks like a P with the half-circle in the middle. A Thing or Ting or Ping is a democratically-elected governing body or parliament, and Iceland is quite proud of having had the first one in the world. At some point though, they had enough problems governing themselves that they turned themselves over to Norway, which later came back under Danish control, and so Iceland was under Danish rule until 1963 when it again became an sovereign nation.  Anyway, this first Thing was in this valley, and it is still the site of major ceremonial events. Although not the beheadings and drownings that were the outcome of their early judicial system. The actual Thing was moved to Reykjavik after a major earthquake dropped the land here a couple of meters.

The valley it is located in is at the meeting place of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, so it's subject to lots of earthquakes. This is the largest natural lake in Iceland, and it fills in some of the gap created by earthquakes.

These fissures or rifts as our guide called them are especially prominent on the west side of the valley. Some looked to be 20 feet or more deep, and some were wide enough to have walking paths at the bottom.

There were a few more pictures I would have taken here, but my camera battery died. At least it was the last stop on my last full day of the trip.

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