A 1998 survey found that 54.4% of Icelandic people, when questioned, say that they believe in hidden people, in fairies, in trolls, in nature spirits. As recently as 2013 a major road construction project was stopped after protests that it would destroy elf habitat. Once you have visited this awe-inspiring country it is easy to understand why.
Having spent the day visiting ‘the big three’ of the south west’s Golden Circle, and having stocked up on provisions at the stores of Selfoss, we arrived in the glorious sunshine of early afternoon at Seljalandsfoss campsite. Of all the waterfalls we visited during our trip, Seljalandsfoss and its neighbour, Gljúfrabúi, were without doubt my favourites.
Perhaps it was the sunshine, perhaps it was the small early season crowds, perhaps it was the appearance of rainbows, or perhaps it was the culmination of an amazing day of sites visited on our wedding anniversary, but I was moved beyond all expectation by the power and the beauty of the falls.
Both allow unprecedented access. At Seljalandsfoss you can follow a path behind the falls and experience the water’s force from the other side.
Gljúfrabúi is described as a secret fall, the water descending from the cliff top, its pool and river hidden by a canyon of its own creation. You can access the bottom through a narrow opening in the rocks which opens out in to a spray filled boulder strewn circle of thunder; a place to make all else seem small and insignificant.
Not sometimes given the write-up of Gullfoss, which is wider, and Skogarfoss, which is taller, the falls are a definite must for anyone headed east and could even be added on to the end of a golden circle tour. I cannot recommend the experience highly enough. It is at once exhilarating and calming, transcendental and grounding. It does us good, every so often, to be reminded of the infinitesimal importance of ourselves.