Thursday, August 18: This morning we enjoy a fabulous breakfast at the Lamb Inn and then soak in our parting views of the valley and the farm before heading east on the Ring Road.
Before we leave Akureyri, we stop at the road that crosses Eyjafjörður at its tip and look at the view toward the south, where we stayed the last two nights. Then we’re back on the Ring Road heading toward Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland. We have a 182 mile drive ahead of us with multiple stops planned along the way.
Our first stop is Goðafoss, which means Waterfall of the Gods. Though not the largest or most powerful of Iceland’s waterfalls, it is one of the most beautiful, flowing over a horseshoe-shaped ledge in two main chutes and one smaller one with numerous vantage points. It is part of the river Skjálfandafljót, which runs through the ~7,000-year-old Bárðardalur lava field in Northeast Iceland.
Goðafoss played an important role in Icelandic history. At the Alþingi, or National Assembly, in the year 1000, lawspeaker Þorgeir Þorkelsson had the job of settling the growing disputes between Christians and those who worshiped the old Nordic gods. After 24 hours meditation, he declared Iceland would be a Christian nation.
Legend has it that on his return home past the waterfall near his farm, he dispensed of his pagan gods by throwing them into the falls in a symbolic act of the conversion. This, according to the legend, is how Goðafoss got its name.
We climb around on the ledges bordering the west side of the waterfall and then clamber above the waterfall.
Then we take the path to the bridge downstream from the waterfall and walk up the east side of the river.
It’s a spectacular day out, cool and breezy and sunny, and we have fun exploring both sides of this amazing waterfall.
The skies and the clouds are simply spectacular.
The eastern side of the waterfall is less crowded as the path is further from the parking lot. On this side, we’re thrilled to find a rainbow rising out of the mist.
Finally, we visit the service center Fosshóll, close to Goðafoss, where we get drinks and snacks, use the facilities, and head further along the Ring Road to the Mývatn region.