Do you think your local water pipes, delivering water to your house, would last a 1000 years, too?
The falls that were moved to provide water for parliament. Good job, everyone.
So, here it is, Gulfoss, translated as “Golden Falls.”
The water, as you can see from its colour, comes from the glacier. No gold there.
And the gold? Well, at settlement 55% of Icelanders were Irish women dragged along against their will and making the most of it. I suspect a leprechaun or two came along, because leprechauns like to hide a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and, well…
You are virtually promised to see a rainbow at Gulfoss. Don’t try for the pot of gold, though. It’s dangerous down there where the river disappears into the earth. Fairyland, they call that.
Maybe a trip to the glacier? Much safer.
And what is a glacier? Why, just look at it: white gold, of course.
At Vik, the old harbour north of Straumeyri, under Hafnarfjall, the night, a terrible force from the emptiness of the universe, does its best to freeze the sea. The sea, itself consumed with throwing itself upon the land and wearing it away, is consumed by this double battle and draws away to rest and to engage in battle again in the next cycle of the moon. The story of this battle of monstrous forces lies on the strand. It is, in fact, the strand, and can be read like any other book and walked like any other sentence. This is Iceland, Middle Earth, that small piece of land in a hostile universe where humans can make a go of it, amidst the forces of giants.
The strand (or tideline) on the gravel (or the seas grrrrrowl, that wakes with every human step. Tread carefully!
One learns to get by. In fact, reading the story of the night’s battle, and walking it step by step as it unfolds, is not only highly enjoyable but musical. The sea ice sings, screams, whistles, chirps and howls under your feet, translated from its long line into the rhythmic step of your feet, and so poetry is born. But do wear three layers of gloves. It can be cold reading out there, with nothing between you and the universe but a layer of silk, a layer of fleece and a layer of thermally-lined nylon.
Anywhere. They live in your mind, which is the world, and materialize out of thin air, especially when your mind starts to merge with the world of cold and stone beyond the human world. Then, be prepared. They can show up anywhere.
But if you can’t find them there, go along the beach west of Hafnarfjell at low tide in winter.
Berserkerjahraun, price: $0.00:
4×4 tour of the highlands: $A Little More. Just saying.
So, just think of this for a second. You might go to the highlands to “get away from it all,” or to be “out there.” Wonderful. Off you go, but do consider this:
The deal is, if you proceed by foot, you are “out there” in five minutes — really out there. The hair will stand up on the back of your neck real quick.
You don’t need a 4X4 to get to Berserkerjahraun.