north iceland: akureyri to goðafoss waterfall

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.

parting view from the Lamb Inn
parting view from the Lamb Inn
The Lamb Inn - final view :-(
The Lamb Inn – final view 😦

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.

Eyjafjörður at Akureyri
Eyjafjörður at Akureyri
a valley in north Iceland
a valley in north Iceland
a pretty river
a pretty river

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.

first view of Goðafoss
first view of Goðafoss
Looking downstream at Goðafoss
Looking downstream at Goðafoss

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.

Goðafoss
Goðafoss

We climb around on the ledges bordering the west side of the waterfall and then clamber above the waterfall.

Goðafoss
Goðafoss
Goðafoss
Goðafoss
Goðafoss
Goðafoss
Goðafoss
Goðafoss
Goðafoss
Goðafoss
above Goðafoss
above Goðafoss

Then we take the path to the bridge downstream from the waterfall and walk up the east side of the river.

crossing the bridge downstream from Goðafoss
crossing the bridge downstream from Goðafoss
walking up the east side of Goðafoss
walking up the east side of Goðafoss

It’s a spectacular day out, cool and breezy and sunny, and we have fun exploring both sides of this amazing waterfall.

east walkway at Goðafoss
east walkway at Goðafoss
downstream from Goðafoss
downstream from Goðafoss
downstream from Goðafoss
downstream from Goðafoss
bridge downstream from Goðafoss
bridge downstream from Goðafoss

The skies and the clouds are simply spectacular.

canyon downstream from Goðafoss
canyon downstream from Goðafoss
bridge downstream from Goðafoss
bridge downstream from Goðafoss
mini-waterfall at Goðafoss
mini-waterfall at Goðafoss
eastern viewpoint at Goðafoss
eastern viewpoint at Goðafoss
eastern viewpoint at Goðafoss
eastern viewpoint at Goðafoss

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.

Goðafoss
Goðafoss
Goðafoss
rainbow at Goðafoss
Goðafoss
rainbow at Goðafoss
Mike at Goðafoss
Mike at Goðafoss
me at Goðafoss
me at Goðafoss

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.

an Icelandic lady at the tourist shop :-)
an Icelandic lady at the tourist shop 🙂

 

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