Waterfalls for the Gods

Godafoss. (foss means waterfalls)

Iceland astounds.  I no longer remember too much about my expectations before I arrived in Island, but one thing I know. Whatever they were, Iceland exceeded those expectations immeasurably. It was truly astounding.         In my view, the glory of Island though is found most vividly in its waterfalls. I can’t believe there is another place in the world where waterfalls abound as they do in Island. It is truly astonishing.

One of my (many) favorites was Godafoss. It means “falls of the gods.” Of course, for a waterfall guy all waterfalls belong to the gods. The name is entirely apt for its beauty alone.  However there is more to the name than beauty. In about 1,000 A.D. the lawpeaker (leader) Porgeir Porkelson of the Icelandic Parliament had to decide whether or not Iceand should remain pagan or change to Christianity.  He weighed the matter for 24 hours.  His reflections were not religious but economic. He decided Iceland could improve trade with Europe if it converted, so he decided everyone was now a Christian. No travelling evangelist was needed for the purpose. There is no evidence that the people had a choice. As always the people get to follow their leader. After the choice was made Porgeir tossed all his idols into the falls and the name Godafoss was born.





I am sure that one of the reasons for the amazing abundance of waterfalls is the fact that so many trees have disappeared from the island on account of neglect going back about a 1,000 years. Starting with the Vikings people ravished the countryside of trees and the country has paid the price ever since. The soils have mainly blown away without the tree cover. As a result even after more than a 100 years of trying, only 1% of the trees have been replaced. Trees need some soil to grow. As a result the rainfall too often does not soak into the ground but rushes along causing floods, but also glorious waterfalls! Iceland pays a heavy price for that beauty but we visitors get the benefits.




A bunch of us travellers begged for our driver to stop for this fall. This was one of the times he could do that, because there was a spot to stop. Often it was not possible as the roads were very narrow and stopping was impossible unless there was a place for parking. Too often Iceland provided no place for cars let alone buses to stop.



Seljandsfoss–This was my personal favourite

There are so many magnificent waterfalls it beggars the imagination. For a self-professed “Waterfall Guy” (along with “Bog Guy”, “Wild flower Guy,” “Sunset Guy,” “Lighthouse Guy”, and even “Church Guy”” of course) I found heaven. For a while I got upset at every waterfall our coach passed by. How could these Cretans not stop? Eventually I caught on that if we stopped at them all our trip would have take 2 centuries not 2 weeks.




Everywhere you drive water tumbles down mountains.


Gullfoss–One of the most photographed waterfalls in all of Iceland.  I have never seen a country with as many  waterfalls as Iceland. This is the land of the gods.

Would you not agree that all the waterfalls are the falls of the gods?





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