Sunday, June 12, 2016

Driving the Golden Circle: Gulfloss

The Golden Circle is a driving loop in the southwestern quadrant of Iceland, taking in three prominent tourist attractions in this part of the Island:  Gulfoss, Geysir, and Thingvellir (and, if you were so inclined, you could add the Bobby Fischer Center in Selfoss).  Well, I'm a tourist and I'm attracted to these sites, so let's drive to Gulfoss.

Gulfoss is the most well-known Icelandic waterfall.  It's on the Hvita River at the northeast corner of the Golden Circle, which, as I said in another post, is more of an isosceles triangle than "circle" per se.

You know you're at someplace special -- tourist attraction department -- when you pull into a giant parking lot, filled with tour buses, and there's a nice big souvenir shop for all your Gulfoss souvenir shopping needs.

You catch your first glimpse of this spectacular two-tiered waterfall soon after you walk past the souvenir shop.

The most notable feature at this moment, notwithstanding the beauty, power, and majesty of the waterfalls, was the fact that this area was very buggy.  As in VERY.  I was pleasantly surprised how bug-free Iceland had been.  I was expecting Minnesota/Wisconsin levels of mosquito infestation.  Gulfoss was much worse.  The bugs were mosquito-like, but they didn't seem to suck your blood as much as nibble on your scalp.  Curses that I left my Deep Woods Off back at the Skuggi.

This is a monument to Sigríður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson, the former owner of this property.  Ms. Tómasdóttir -- Iceland uses patronymic naming so note that her name is, literally, daughter of Tómas -- is credited with saving the waterfalls from the horrors of hydropower.

And impressive they are.

You can see the mist rising up from the falls.  Do I have time for a selfie at the falls?

The good news is that when you're in the mist from the falls, the bugs aren't biting.  One last look on the way to the exits:

Gulfoss is located at 64 degrees, 19 minutes north latitude, which is just slightly north of Reykjavik latitudinally, presuming that's a word.  Which means:  Gulfoss is the new "farthest north" I've ever been.

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