Visit Reykjavik ICALP 2008
35th International Colloquium on
Automata, Languages and Programming

July 6 - 13, 2008
Reykjavik - Iceland

July 9 — Excursion: Golden Circle afternoon tour

Early afternoon departure from Reykjavik. Our first stop will be at Thingvellir National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Thingvellir National Park is of immense historic and symbolic importance to Icelanders. It was long the site of the original Althing, or national parliament of the settlers, and the setting for many of the most important events in the history of the island. Established in 930, the Althing was an assembly of free men that gathered at Thingvellir for two weeks each summer to settle disputes, set laws and arrange marriages. Thingvellir is also renowned for its geological significance. The area is located on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, where the continents of Europe and America drift apart, causing earthquakes and volcanic activity. Standing in the Almannagjá fissure, the visitor is literally situated between the continental plates. Thingvellir is also known for its exquisite beauty. The birch-covered lava fields and the clear blue waters of Lake Thingvallavatn produce a harmonious, almost serene landscape.

From Thingvellir via Lyngdalsheidi plateau and Laugarvatn school village to Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir hot springs area and Thingvellir National Park. Gullfoss, or the "Golden Waterfall" as the name implies, is located on the Hvitá river. The falls cascade 32m down in two stages. Often, colorful rainbows created by the sun on the spraying water can be enjoyed. The beauty of this waterfall can hardly be expressed fully in words. From Gullfoss to the geothermal field in Haukadalur is a natural wonder of hot springs and boiling mud pools. The "Great Geyser" even gave its name to this spectacular phenomenon. Today, the Geysir itself seldomly erupts, but nearby Strokkur sends up a column of water and steam up to 30 meters high every few minutes to the delight of onlookers.

On our way to Reykjavik we will make a short stop at Kerid, a lake-filled extinct volcanic crater. From there via Hveragerdi greenhouse village back to Reykjavik.