It’s not a big secret that there aren’t many trees in Iceland. Even one of the country’s oldest jokes is: “What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest?” – “Stand up.” Luckily the situation is changing. Elliðaárdalur is a great example of reforestation.
Elliðaárdalur, (“The valley of the Elliðaár Rivers”), is one of the many green areas in Reykjavik. It is a very popular area for fishing, walking, biking, and even horseback riding. The valley is about 3.5 miles long and about 1 mile wide. The base of the valley is a lava field dating from a volcanic eruption 4500 years ago. The townspeople used to picnic there in the 19th century, but they sought more distant destinations after the automotive age started. Nowadays, people have started noticing the valley again and enjoying its surroundings more than ever before.The Elliðaár rivers are now among the best salmon rivers in the country, and Reykjavik is probably the only capital city in the world to have such a river within its boundaries.
I visit Elliðaárdalur quite often in the summer with children I am working with. They enjoy walking through the forest, collecting flowers, and listening to birds singing. Usually we find a nice sunny meadow to eat our lunch. After our bellies are filled, we play games, sing songs and tell stories. But our favorite thing in this valley is a little waterfall.
Children take off their shoes and wade in the water. They have lots of fun and when a day comes to its end, none of them want to go home.
I love Elliðaárdalur. Everything about it makes me feel good. I wish I could visit it more often. I’ve never seen it in winter. I am sure it looks beautiful. Especially the little frozen waterfall.