September 21, 2015 – Day 5 – Iceland Trip
What an adventure day 5 was! We got to go “Inside the Volcano” — more specifically, we got to go inside Thrihnukagigur (translation: Three Peaks Crater) volcano.
A bit about volcanoes in Iceland: there are over 100 volcanoes across the island, and over 30 of these are active. Iceland is one of the most active areas for volcanoes in the world, because it straddles the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
You probably remember back to 2010 when a volcanic eruption in Iceland disrupted air travel for six days. That was a volcano called Eyjafjallajökull (loosely translated to Island Mountain Glacier). Say it with me, now: that’s AY-yuh-fyat-luh-yo-kootl. They tried to teach us how to say it several times during our trip, but we just ended up sounding like Americans trying to pronounce an Icelandic word. It can’t be done, Captain.
Thrihnukagigur hasn’t erupted in 4,000 years and isn’t expected to any time soon. That’s why they let people traipse around inside of it, I guess. This trip still is not for the faint of heart.
- There is a bit of a walk between the welcome center and the volcano itself. The walk is over very uneven ground.
- You descend into the volcano for something like six minutes. Luke and I aren’t terribly fond of heights, and the contraption that lowers you to the ground is open to the world.
- The surface of the inside of the volcano is as you might expect it: uneven, dark, and rocky.
- Wear hiking boots! We wore our Bean Boots, and those were perfect for gripping the lava rock.
But oh my goodness, is the trip ever worth it. While it was a pretty pricey excursion, it was one of our favorite days in Iceland and is something we will never forget.
A small bus picked us up from our hotel. We were dropped off at a bus transfer station, where we made our way to a much larger bus. The drive is only about 30 minutes from the city.
It was raining a bit. When we got to the Welcome Center, we were given a few minutes to put on some very long, very stinky rain coats before setting off on the hike to the volcano. It was about 45 minutes from the Welcome Center to base camp. At base camp, we got ready for our trip. We had to put on harnesses and headlamps. Then it was just a few minutes to the entrance.
There was a scary catwalk to the lift. The lift itself was a converted window washing platform used for skyscrapers. That should give you a pretty good idea of what the trip was like, but in case it doesn’t, take a look at the video, below. Being inside of a volcano is indescribable. The pictures absolutely do not do this side trip justice.
After the volcano, we went back to base camp for some homemade lamb stew. It was one of our favorites! We have made it several times since coming back from our trip. Then it was time to hike back to the Welcome Center and board our bus to go home.
After the volcano, we roamed around Reykjavik some more. On this day, we had hotdogs at Hlöllabátar Ingólfstorgi. This place is a thing in the city and apparently is very popular (especially late at night.) Beer? Yes, of course. We stopped at two places for beer: Kofinn and Kaldi Bar/Café. Dinner (which happened a while after the hotdogs and beer had digested) was at The Laundromat Cafe, a restaurant/laundromat. We were tired, so it wasn’t a late night.