November 2015

On our third day in Iceland we took part in a popular tourist activity called the Golden Circle tour, the first proper stop of which was the Gullfoss waterfall (we’d had a short stop before that in Friðheimar to hear a talk about using geothermal energy to power a greenhouse). The weather conditions obviously play a part but the Icelandic landscape can be very bleak and this was certainly true for us. Blacks and greys with only pale yellow-greens here and there was very much the order of the day for our coach trip and when we arrived at Gullfoss too yet for all its colourless, oppressive feeling there was also something incredibly uplifting about it all too; it felt to me as if you became more set in your place as a small thing amongst something far larger, not dissimilar to the chest-swelling joy I feel when I gaze up at a stunningly clear, starry sky or look across a vast, empty ocean from high up a cruise ship.

It was incredibly windy during our visit, especially up on the viewing platform above the waterfall. Hoods were being whipped off if you turned the wrong way and just holding my phone up to try to record some video of Gullfoss from a good vantage point required two hands and me leaning hard against the railing for support.

Gullfoss is a waterfall along the Hvítá river in Iceland formed from a series of turns and drops into a canyon. While it had been intended at some point in the past to tap the waterfall for energy production it is now a protected, natural monument and open to visitors throughout the year. A wooden staircase allows everyone to descend and walk along the river then back up some the waterfall’s drops. Although it didn’t rain while we were in the canyon alongside Gullfoss the fierce wind often whipped the spray from the crashing water into us leaving us almost as wet anyway. Still, I managed to take some photos of the waterfall when I could.

A pseudo-HDR processed photo of Gullfoss emphasising the darkness of the day.

And I even managed a little bit more video of Gullfoss from a slightly less windswept position in the canyon. The short video shows the viewing platform on the cliff edge right at the end.

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