Posted by: travelrat | December 5, 2019

Thingvellir

Thingvellir 1

Reykjavik: 24th June 2019.

An essential was a call at the Thingvellir National Park, in which Iceland’s ‘thing’, or ruling council used to meet … and which is still used on important national occasions.  You might sometimes see it written as Þingvellir  … but, although it looks like a P, it’s actually a thorn which gives a ‘th’ sound … which is actually a sort of double-ended P which I have so far been unable to find on ‘Character Map’. (I copied it from Wikipedia!!)

A feature of the Park is the fissure along which we took a short walk. This crack, which is widening imperceptibly, is the divide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. I imagined a visitor from Kenya, saying something like:

‘Call this a rift valley? We have a much bigger one!’

But, Kenya’s Rift Valley wasn’t featured in ‘Game of Thrones’ … although this valley didn’t terminate in a castle, where people the owners didn’t like used to get dropped through a window in the floor on to the rocks far below.

(At one stage, our guide gave us a potted history of Iceland, which made ‘Game of Thrones’ seem like a playground spat)

At the mouth of the rift is a mound, topped by an Icelandic flag. It was here the Icelandic parliament sat, from 930 AD until 1798 … I should imagine that, on some occasions, the cold weather kept the debates short! It claims to be one of the oldest parliaments in the world … but not the oldest; I think the Isle of Man could give them a century or so. And, here, not far way, the bus awaited, to take us back to Reykjavik.

Thinvellir 2

Our last call was at The Pearl  … a sort of cultural centre cum museum cum art gallery. But, the main feature for us was the circular fourth floor viewing platform, which gave superb views of Reykjavik.

 


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