Vikings don’t walk on the roof
I fell into a fall at the foot of the fell. Sorry just had to get that out of the way right up front. And, come on, how many times in your life can you accurately use a line like that?
The waterfall in question was one of set tumbling down a cliff about 20km from where we spent the night. The first, and largest of the falls, was distinctive because there was a path behind the waterfall. While damp, there’s something magical about looking out through the tumbling waters of a large fall.
Just round the corner was a smaller fall which had cut deeply into the rock and formed a, now dry, cave. It was while fording the little river that I confirmed that waterproof boots don’t help in the slightest if the water level is over the top of them.
We met an English family and the four boys built an extensive dam together across the river. Clear, fresh water and lovely rounded glacial rocks – amazing combination.
We’re in a very different part of Iceland now. A bit more populated than the vacant areas we’ve been through in the last few days. It’s also the part closest to the Eyjafjallajokull volcano which caused such havoc in 2010. We stopped at the visitor centre and watched a wonderful video made by some farmers who live just beneath it. It was a great video, notable not only for providing an understanding of the incredible impact of Eyjafjallajokull on the local area but also providing an insight into a totally self-sufficient farm. The farm generates its own electricity and hot water, runs vehicles and machines on distilled rape-seed oil, and grows all its own food. And although the entire place was covered in mud in 2010 it has sprung back beautifully.
Iceland is incredible for the variety of scenery. We thought we’d seen every type of volcanic plain, but today we saw yet another. This a huge expanse of rock and dirt that reminded us greatly of Australia. It also involved many tens of kilometres on the worst dirt-road of the trip so far.
Our destination was a power plant which was the first hydro-electric plant in Iceland. We were pleasantly surprised to not only get to see the turbines in action but to tour an absolutely first-class exhibition on power generation. The boys got to control water-flows and see how they are used to meet peak demand periods. They, and we, learnt a lot. And the place had free coffee and juice – total winner.
Our final stop for the day was a recreation of a viking longhouse. We’ve been wondering, as we tour the island, why there are not more Viking remnants to see. The answer is simple enough: when you build with turf in a tough environment not much lasts. The recreation is based on local archaeological remains which were preserved in ash – a la Pompeii. The place actually felt quite cosy and cut out the wind to a remarkable degree.
Oh, and before anyone – and you know who you are – tells me I could go further with my first line: ‘Twas a fell day when I fell into the fall at the foot of the fell.