Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Cathedral is the only medieval cathedral with 3 spires. It was rebuilt in 1349, in the Gothic style. It houses one of the world’s finest collections of medieval stained glass windows.

In World War 2, the Luftwaffe were instructed not to bomb it. The spires acted as an important navigational aid. The Cathedral has many gargoyles.

 

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Geysir Geothermal Field, Haukadalur, Iceland

Aside from the famous Geysir and Strokkur, there are a series of smaller geothermal springs. The hot springs of Haukadalur have been active for almost 10,000 years. The azure blue colour of the water is from dissolved silica.

Gullfoss Waterfall, Bláskógabyggð, Iceland.

Gullfoss means ‘golden falls,’ because on a sunny day the water appears golden-brown due to the sediment carried from its source, the glacial water of Iceland’s second biggest glacier, Langjökull. On bright days, you can see lots of rainbows.

It is an extraordinary sight. Its average flow is 1400 cubic metres of water per second. It can partially freeze over in the winter, reducing the flow to 80 cubic metres per second.

The water plummets down 32 metres, over two tiers. It gives an illusion of there being two waterfalls flowing and disappearing into an abyss.

In 1907, Sigriður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson, who owned the land, sought to void a contract between her father and an Englishman who wanted to harness the waterfall’s energy to produce electricity. She even threatened to throw herself off the top of the waterfall. She is thought of as Iceland’s first environmentalist. In 1979 the area was designated a nature reserve by the Icelandic government.

Iceland – þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park

þingvellir National Park is sited in a rift valley and lies on the tectonic boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Iceland is where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. Earthquakes occur along the plate boundaries in Iceland. At þingvellir, the tectonic plates are pulling apart. Also in þingvellir, is Lake Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland, with a diverse ecosystem.

It is an important location for the country’s history. In 930 AD, the Alþing (Althing) general assembly –  Europe’s oldest (outdoor) Parliament began here.