This article is the third in a series of stories devoted to my trip to Iceland. For a complete overview of all sightseeings, I invite you to read:
- Day 1: Dyrhólaey, Reynisfjara, Vík, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss
- Day 2: Keldur, Friedheimar and Thingvellir
- Day 3: Geysir, Gulfoss, Skálholt, Brúarfoss, Kerid andStokkseyri
- Day 4: Reykjadalur, the hot spring river of Hveragerdi, Reykjavik and Gardur [to be published]
Our day-2 itinary: Keldur turf houses, Friðheimar and Þingvellir National Park
We are making a 208 km trip from Hella to Selfoss visiting:
- Keldur to see real turf houses, so namely the oldest ones of Iceland.
- Friedheimar to experience the best tomato soup in the world and see how tomatoes grow such north.
- Thingvellir for its amazing setting where tectonic plates crack, the lovely Öxarárfoss cascade and the history of the ancient Parliament plains
Keldur Turf Houses
From Hella we decide to take the second junction, heading south, to road 264 to reach Keldur and will return driving back in a circle. The road is mostly gravel and bumpy at times and we drive slowly given our compact car. It's August 6th and are second to arrive at nearly 10am. A little trail, a beautiful one, brings us in front of the turf houses.
The turf houses in Keldur
No one is in sight but a guy walks promptly out of the main building and asks how many we are without saying hello. What a direct welcome. We are standing outside and wait for him wondering ... until he gets back in a fast-paced walk with payment terminal! Uh? We'll get used to this cultural directness. The beautiful views on the plains, wildlife and little river overlooking the surrounding hills and mountains are compensating. After all, we didn't drive for an hour to get upset.
A small river next to the houses, what a great view
A few more people arrive and the tour finally gets started. It's really worth entering the turf houses and hear the history of the farmers that lived here for centuries. Our guide tells us many details and we have difficulty imagining what the living conditions were in the those northern latitudes and such remote location a few years back. Our host, in his very direct speech, was proud of the place and made us learn a bit of Iceland's history and what led to become an independent nation in 1944 from the Danish rule. Keldur might not be on every tourist map but is worth to be seen. Be aware that the guided tours (paying) and visits insides the turf houses are only available in summer times.
Tasty tomatoes from Iceland, who could believe this?
Hey, are you looking for something really spectacular in Iceland? At Friedheimar you can experience how you can grow delicious tomatoes. If you ever tried growing tomatoe plants, you may know it's not so easy without a good sunny and hot climate. I believe the best tomatoes are those you can pick directly out of a warm and summer Mediterranean sun, and got amazed by those I could see at Friedheimar. Okay, the bees are imported from The Netherlands. The technique to use eco-friendly and sustainable techniques to make the fruits ripe is truly unique.
Friedheimar is not a large greenhouse but interesting to visit and a lovely place to take farm-to-lunch you won't regret.The soups are tremendously good, of course!
Delicious soup to keep on going
Thingvellir, where the continents drift apart
Our afternoon is spent in Thingvellir (Þingvellir in Icelandic), one of the three major Golden Circle spots with Geysir and Gulfoss which we'll be visiting tomorrow. First, if you're coming from Reykjolt, take road 37, then turn on road 365 and finally take right on road 36 to reach the national park. The views are just awesome and you'll will arrive at Thingvellir in an enchanting scenery.
There's a large parking on road 365 from which you can contemplate beautiful 365° views
Volcanic mountains emerge from the plains
As we get closer, we cross cracks striking our attention. Those are in fact tectonic faults and evidence the continents are splitting apart. We'll have some fun later literally standing between two of them. Thingvellir is such an awesome place to visit. It has also a lot of history as it was the location of the ancient parliament in the middle of a large backdrop area. It's magical to imagine the assemblies that were held here in this incredible setting.
One of the many faults you can see in Thingvellir
Under the backdrop
Small cascade and fault in the distance
A little further out about 20 minutes from the upper parking lot and visitor center, and if you're up for another waterfall, Öxarárfoss is a nice to see. Take the time to wander around, enjoy the nature and wildlife. You can't visit Iceland without stopping in Thingvellir.
It's raining but we still enjoy every moment of our stay in Thingvellir
Oxararfoss waterfall is just on the right (not on the picture) but love this view even more !
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