Iceland pt4: Fire

…And everything volcanic :-) It’s time for the ~~alien planet~~ side of Iceland!


Why does Iceland look so alien? Well, for one, there aren’t any trees. Seriously. A couple of planted ones but other than that NO TREES. You can scroll back and check each post now if you don’t believe me :p

Secondly, since Iceland is basically created by volcanoes, you encounter the weirdest shapes and colors in the landscape. Some because they are huge lava fields, like the one we had to hike through for an hour:

I’m on another planet!

Why would we hike through hours of nothingness? Because of this!

There lies a wreckage of a plane at Sólheimasandur !

It crashed in November 1973, and everyone luckily survived. The reason for its crash has never been discovered though.

A big truck drove up and down the track. It looked like a big moon rover and made us feel even more like we were in a sci-fi movie :p

The volcanos in Iceland have the most exotic shapes, and it’s a real adventure when driving around.

can you spot Ward?

The ground of Iceland is still very active volcano-wise, and here and there hot water is pushed out with enormous force, like at Geysir (which is the origin of our word “geiser”!)

wait for it….

That’s more like it :D And this happened every 8 minutes or so!

Not far from there, near the town of Vik, there was a volcanic beach that we visited.

I just love those rocks! They are basalt rock formations, and they look so unnatural with their geometric shapes.

I know them so well because I had to draw hundreds of pictures of them for my work at Capcom’s Monster Hunter, and to finally see them upclose and real was really, really cool :)

Another Puffin offshore nesting ground
Ward amidst the pillars :)

Sometimes the landscapes looked like ancient stone creatures, and that is exactly where that legend came from that trolls would turn to stone when hey were hit by sunlight.

This was at Lake Myvatn (“lake of the many bugs”, and yes, that name is pretty spot-on :p), where there was a concentration of volcanic landmarks.

I was really blown away (pun?) by the huge crater Hverfjall. We were driving around when it suddenly doomed up.

We climbed up and circled all around it, with amazing views of the surrounding landscapes!

Ward is always very small on my photos
Lake Myvatn in the back

From the top of the crater we looked down on a dark, eerie place:


DIMMUBORGIR (sounds really like a place in Lord of the Rings, and also looks like it)

Dimmuborgir is a huge lavafield, where lava bubbled up from the earth and then dried out, creating these peculiar pillars and caves.

Can you guess how this one is called:

……”The Church” !

We spent hours roaming about this dark and spooky lavafield, But there was also a lot of color around this area:

This place is called Hverir and is a geothermal hotspot: It has bubbling pools of mud and steam!

some of it boiling hot!

And it smells like warm, rotten, oozing eggs. Yes, lovely!

Lake Myvatn and its surroundings was one of my favorite places in Iceland, not in the least because of the amazing geothermal bath!

We stayed there for over two hours, enjoying the hot water and stunning views.

A second area in Iceland that is brimming with volcanic activity is the peninsula Snaefellsnes! We spent our last two days of our trip there.

That strange shape is an enormous lava-bubble that cooled down and became solid!

The beach is basically a huge slate of dried lava.

The peninsula is named after its grand volcano, Snæfellsjökull, on which now rests an enormous glacier (a “jökull”. Snæ means “snow” and “fell” is a type of mountain) . The volcano erupted several times in the past and the whole western area of Snaefellsnes is basically one big lava field.

Like a beautiful alien planet ;-) But we were curious… What does this landscape look like INSIDE?

Yes! We went into a “lavatube”! Those are enormous tunnels underground where lava rivers used to be. If that doesn’t sound creepy!

Down we went, in to the caves. Sometimes small animals would fall into this abyss, which has no way out. There was a skeleton of an arctic fox!

The cave was full of strange rock formations, and at one point our guide asked us to turn off all of our lights to experience true darkness.

Just kidding XD but believe me, it was very very dark!

After an hour we climbed back out in to the world, and went to the beach!

The beaches were made of perfectly smooth round pebbles and lavarocks. It was tricky to walk over them.

The views are worth it though!

gotta love those rockformations….

And that is the whole story of our Iceland trip! Many different landscapes, and just as many adventures. We didn’t see everything, like the northern lights (no night!), or the Puffin’s nesting (our boat was cancelled because of a storm :p), or the ENTIRE inlands (which can only be reached with a sturdy 4×4, not our little Hyundai) so we know for sure that we will come back some day!!