I say there are three things to remember when one thinks about Iceland. 1. The people are friendlier than heck. 2. Don’t worry too much about the weather, it’ll do what you don’t want it to do, and; 3. See as many waterfalls as possible. If you don’t, I feel sorry for you.
Iceland has no shortage of water. Stuck between the arctic circle, and a warm, moist gulf stream, Iceland finds itself with an ever changing venue of weather. I didn’t believe it before, but after visiting, its crystal clear. The weather will change at any moment. Rain, wind, snow, sun, then over again with rain. And that water has to go somewhere. Why not make a delightful show for us tiny humans?
In my measly six days spent in a country whose magical Nordic secrets tend to seduce me even today, I witnessed only a few, albeit spectacular waterfalls. I can recall each with great detail but the one thing I remember most is the quiet whisper of all. Gone is the thunder and roar one expects from great curtains of water rushing from cliff above. Instead, a steady hiss freezes you, reminding one to take not and not forget the still ever-present power.
Even the mighty Gulfoss never yelled. Instead he clamored on, a low murmur amongst the hillscape. Sheets of gasping water drenched a gulch, spraying even those plenty far away. Fed by Iceland’s second largest glacier, I sincerely expected a show of pure power, but instead was greeted by serene grace.
Closer and closer. I gain speed, and as I do my clothing seeps with moisture. A cool arctic wind blows at my back, made worse by the mist of Skógafoss, one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls. All worth it. I definitely wish I had more time at this one. Despite my soaked nature, the peace of water rushing past your head and into a dark pool below is like none other. The fun of having a very British lady ask you to take her picture with a water-laden iPhone makes it pretty memorable too.
The last light of a dying day. Rushing onward to see the waterfall Seljalandsfoss (say that three times fast) become a dangerous and delightful task. Walking up to a metal grate staircase, you see the cavernous hollow beyond this fall. Pushing forward and things get slippery. I could hardly see. A deep red sky contrasted perfectly with the stage lighting once I reached the backside of the waterfall. “The one you can walk behind” they all said. I prefer, “the one you could fall asleep behind, wake up, and forget that you’re on planet earth.”
Of course, these are only a small handful of the more popular, and easily accessible waterfalls in Iceland. ALL of these can be seen by the major tour companies, and yes, all of them are equally as magical, despite their popularity. If given the chance, I would go back in a heartbeat, just for the ‘foss.’