Ever since Daniel Day Lewis left a longing Madeline Stowe underneath one in The Last of the Mohicans I’ve had a thing about waterfalls. So this year, finally, I’m looking at walking holidays that take me to these vary places in search of a similar spot so I can re-enact that very scene. I’ll need a willing stranger to help me but I live in hope.
Iguazu Falls – Brazil/Argentina
One of the most popular waterfalls in South America, its north bank lies in Brazil with the south bank in Argentina. Around 270 separate falls flow into one big waterfall here, some of them around 200 feet high. It’s also a World Heritage Area. The biggest one is called The Devil’s Throat, over 2,000 feet high and 500 feet across. Not for the faint hearted but pretty! You can actually take a boat ride through the rapids of the Rio de Iguazu if you’re brave enough but be prepared to get completely drenched! I’m not sure about that one, remember Meryl Streep and her white water rafting in The River Wild? Or if you prefer to stay dry, take a helicopter ride. For the really insane adrenalin seeker there’s always a spot of rappelling. What do you mean you’ve never heard of it? Tied to a rope you descend a vertical cliff face on the Brazilian side of the falls. If you are seriously thinking about it – are you quite mad? For the romantics, try touring it by moonlight.
PS: These falls are also movie stars! You’ll know them if you’ve ever seen The Mission, Moonraker or Miami Vice and Mr Magoo (no, I’d never heard of it either) to name a few, although it’s usually the aforementioned Devil’s Throat part of the falls that’s used. Go ride the rapids.
Dettifoss Waterfall – Iceland
The thing I love about Iceland is the language. Found in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park this is rated as Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Its milky colours are the result of sediment-filled waters melting from the nearby Vatnajokull glacier (is your brain hurting yet?) Dettifoss is the central waterfall in a series of three, the other two found nearby having such lovely names as Selfoss (that was an easy one) and Hafragilsfross. The whole area was declared a national monument back in 1996. Try hiking between the three for a proper walking holiday.
By the way, if you are in Iceland and you do have a thing for waterfalls, try the Gullfoss waterfall too while you’re there. Comprising two separate falls at 90 degree angles to each other, it’s got to be worth the extra trip. Do remember though, it’s not called Iceland for nothing. No romantic Stowe/Day-Lewis combinations and ripped bodices here. Even in summer it doesn’t get much above 11-12 degrees Celsius.
Plitvice Waterfalls, Croatia
For a chance to see a large network of karstic – that’s an area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns – and lakes and waterfalls, Plitvice in Croatia is hard to beat. These waterfalls have been attracting tourists since the 19th Century and were apparently named after a famous Croatian opera singer. I’m sure there’s a joke about it not being over until the fat lady sings in there somewhere but I can’t think of one. It’s all very pretty too. The lakes change colour from azure to blue to green to grey depending on mineral deposits and organisms in the water and the angle of the sunlight.
So there are a few ideas for your Day-Lewis/Stowe moment, which was apparently filmed somewhere in America but I couldn’t find the exact location, no matter how hard I tried! Nor could I find a stranger willing to participate in re-enacting that iconic on-screen moment. I can’t imagine why, I was very polite. I was also asked to move along by some authoritative looking guys on a couple of occasions. Next time I’m looking at family holidays, it’s probably safer that way.