Iceland – Thingvellir

We got off our plane and picked up our oddly snazzy rental car and took off to Thingvellir national park and world heritage site.

Thingvellir is an interesting collection of natural and historic landmarks. It’s ground zero for the mid-Atlantic tectonic ridge. The whole place screams ’geologic transitions’ in play. Big hunks of crust are being pushed up from below forming big mounds covered in moss and open to the underworld. The rift lake and the fissure that run down the middle of the park are evidence of the space created as the plates come together. It’s pretty cool.

Thingvellir also happens to have been the assembly site for a bunch of ancient viking tribes who came together there to decide and arbitrate laws. Coincidently there is a ‘drowning pool’ near the ‘law rock’ – from the interpretive signage the drowning pool was exclusively used for problem women. I didn’t see mention to any ‘chopping rock’ which I assume is how the man problems were solved.

And as often happens with pagans they came into conflict with the spread of Christianity. The park signage told us that the dispute between the two religions was handled peacefully. One of the pagan law makers went into a cave for a couple of days – when he came out he told everyone that Christianity was going to be the way to go. There was some subtext that the decision was political and expansionist. The pagan law maker knew that Iceland would only thrive if immigrants came in and helped build the country. There were more eager Christian immigrants than pagans. You usually don’t hear this story told with an immigration context around it.

We froze our butts off but the park was gorgeous!.

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