Wednesday, July 08, 2015

A Long Day of Sightseeing

Both my mother and I have been feeling under the weather recently, so instead of renting a car we paid for a bus tour which combined the Golden Circle with riding an Icelandic horse.

I'm told that most horses have 4 "gaits":  walk, trot, canter, and gallop.  The Icelandic horse has a 5th gait, toelt, between trot and canter, in which one foot is always in contact with the ground; it's a very smooth gait, no bouncing at all for the rider.  I was able to get my horse Vigunde to toelt, so I've done something most American horse riders have not!

Icelandic horses are short and stout:

After a short ride we next went to Geysir, the very geyser after which all others are named.  It's dormant now but used to shoot about 100 meters into the air.

Nearby Strokkur, though, gushed about 30 meters every 5-8 minutes.

(Stokkur video uploaded 8/22/15 and can be viewed here.)

About 10 minutes after leaving Geysir we arrived at Gullfoss, the Golden Falls:

Can't get the videos to work; perhaps I'll try again when I get home in a couple days.  Just know that these pictures don't do Strokkur or Gullfoss any justice.

(Gullfoss video added 8/22/15)

Lastly we went to Thingvillir, the "most Icelandic of Icelandic places".  It's Iceland's first national park, a rift valley between two continental plates wherein Iceland's "Althing", or parliament, was held since AD 930.  It was in Thingvillir that Icelandic independence from Denmark was declared in 1944.  All my videos there are huge so you'll have to accept this picture of houses and a church in the valley:

Long day, but so educational--and so fun.


PeggyU said...

My brother had a Fjord horse. He was an interesting animal and quite a family pet, really. So I had to check out the difference between Fjord horses and your Icelandic horse. Thought you'd like this

Darren said...

Can they toelt? :)

I hadn't heard of a Fjord horse until your comment, and I enjoyed the link.