If thinking about the Althing being the oldest parliamentary institution in the world makes you feel as humbled as when you're standing at the edge of a giant waterfall like Gullfoss, then you've got to stop here. The Althing first met at Thingvellir -- a key stop on the golden circle tour -- in 930. The square outside the Althingshus is where 2008 mass protests over the handling of the financial crisis triggered an election that provided a radical shift in government. Political nerds will want to stop in and watch parliamentary debate in action, probably a discussion on the debt crisis, in untranslated Icelandic. The viewing gallery is open to the public sometime in the early afternoon, and you need to wait outside a nondescript side door. Check with a security guard. Don't expect a visitor centre, tourguides, displays, relics, or a gift shop, but do expect an interpretive guide to the Althing's history and operations, available in a variety of languages. Unlike the US Capitol, the Icelandic parliament doesn't get in the business of being a theme park.
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