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Monday, November 27, 2017

Goðafoss waterfall and Dettifoss waterfall - Iceland

GPS: N65° 40' 58.154" W17° 32' 58.487"

Goðafoss waterfall 

After leaving our hotel, we made out first stop of the day right off the ring road to one of Iceland's famous waterfalls, Goðafoss.   This waterfall was very Niagra fallsy for me.  Well, a really muddy dirty Niagara falls atleast. With a height of 12 meters a width of 30 meters, this u shaped waterfall had great views from it's two access points.  We were however, a little bummed to see how BROWN the waterfall was, likely due to the large amounts of rain we had been experiencing that week. 

Godafoss translates to "waterfall of the gods". "In the year 999 or 1000 the lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. According to a modern myth, it is said that upon returning from the Alþingi, Þorgeir threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall"  WikipediaOther fun fact:  MS Goðafoss, an Icelandic ship named after the waterfall, used to transport both freight and passengers. It was sunk by a German U-Boat in World War II, resulting in great loss of life.

Goðafoss waterfall 

Goðafoss waterfall on a clear day when the water isn't too "muddy" Source

You can view the waterfall from both sides and both access points are a short drive and walk, and if you have some time, it is worth seeing the waterfall from both sides.  The side on the right with the people in this photograph above did not have a formal viewing platform.  The opposite side had an actual walking path and platform to view the falls.

Goðafoss waterfall on OUR day

River from Goðafoss waterfall 

GPS:  N65° 48' 53.801" W16° 22' 59.766" 

Dettifoss Waterfall on a cold rainy day 

We were really excited to see this waterfall. Dettifoss is known as Europe's most powerful waterfall and has been seen in big movies like Prometheus (it is 45 meters high and 100 meters wide). Yes, we had seen so many of Iceland's beautiful waterfalls.... but this was supposed to be the most powerful and away from the busier sections of Iceland. 

 After deciding which route to take (there are two) and finally accessing the falls, we were dissapointed to see that the weather was NOT going to let up. The clouds had moved in, the rain was a constant downpour and the wind never ending. We spent a quick 10 minutes at the waterfall but we were quickly soaked and miserable. This powerful waterfall was extremely impressive to see up close and personal, and very hard to photograph. 

Dettifoss is a little ways off the Ring Road, about a 35 minutes drive off Route 1 EACH way.  There are two ways to see the waterfall. 
1. Road 864 - Is on the east side of the river and has a view looking WEST.  This road goes from road 85 past Dettifoss on the east side towards road 1. This is the easier paved route which we chose and involved a 10-15 minute walk to the falls 
2. Gravel road 862 is on the west side of river Jökulsá and has a view looking EAST . 
Read more about these roads and accessing the waterfall here. While the drive is tougher, the walk is shorter to the falls, less than 5 minutes.  Due to the weather and lack of visibility, we stuck to Road 864 only. 

On a clear day:  Source

Our view on a rainy cold day

All in all, these were low on the list of "favorite waterfalls" of the trip, likely due to the nasty weather we experienced in the northern region of Iceland.  Godafoss unfortunately was colored brown that did not photograph (or look that great in real life for that matter) well.  Dettifoss was impressive to see for its massive size, but the weather was so brutal at this point that we had a tough time enjoying the scenes.  Iceland is like this:  so hard to plan around the weather and it changes in an instant.  You win some you lose some and as far as viewing these waterfalls go, we didn't have the best of luck.  I will say days like these really made us appreciate those rare moments of warmth and sunshine during our trip in Iceland. 

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