The Crone, the Waterfall and the Battle of the Legacies

IMG_0700The plaque doesn’t really explain the conflict over the Gullfoss waterfall. It tells of an old woman who was very fond of the waterfall. She was from a big family and she and her brothers and sisters would guide people to the waterfall back when it was a rather difficult and perilous trek to get to it. She never married, she was dedicated to the waterfall.

However, our tour guide has a different explanation for the origin of the memorial. The tour guide explained that this old woman, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who known for being difficult to get along with and rather prickly, had to take on Iceland’s Mr. Big poet laureate-religious bigwig-entrepreneur to save the waterfall.

Mr Big had big plans for the waterfall. He was going to lease the waterfall out to a British company to develop a hydro-electric plant. In ‘developing’ the energy usage, the waterfall would probably get somewhat trashed modified and, of course, be closed to the public.

According to our tour guide, the crone didn’t like this plan. She organized a public relations campaign to stop the British electricity deal and make the land accessible to all- native Icelander as well as foreign tourist.

However, if you look at the Wikipedia page, they make it sound like the business deal with the British wasn’t working, and Mr. Big ‘generously’ sold off the land to the Iceland government. Perhaps he is rolling in his grave over all the tourist money he lost from the deal.

Seems to me we are witnessing the battle of the legacies. Why would a ‘waterfall admirer’ get her own plaque? Where is Mr. Big’s plaque? Who are we to believe? The oral tradition of the uppity crone or the Official Version of the bourgeois elite who decided to pass on an business opportunity?


It is a beautiful waterfall.IMG_0692 I thought I would be disappointed because there was so much hype surrounding it, but Gullfoss is truly a lovely spot. IMG_0670The water thunders down, and since there is a rock wall nearby, a wall of mist is thrown up into the air. You feel like you are going through a veil as you get closer to the waterfall itself. IMG_0675

We were there in July, so the wildflowers were in full bloom.IMG_0671

Icelandic people are very sensible about advertising danger. As soon as you see those ropes, you know you had darned well better stay back. They aren’t worried about lawsuits, they figure natural selection will favor those people who can follow instructions.IMG_0679

Easy does it tourist types.



One thought on “The Crone, the Waterfall and the Battle of the Legacies

  1. SH September 1, 2016 / 6:10 pm

    This just seems so raw and wild and awesome. Awesome is overused today but I do mean awe inspiring.


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