Sunday, 16 June 2013

Kelis, sledging and Iceland's unpronounceable volcano

Eyjafjallajokull rock
Clambering aboard a sledge in the middle of June and sliding down an icecap while listening to Kelis: an activity worthy of gracing anyone's bucket list. Apart from Kelis's, perhaps. Or Bjork's. Welcome to Iceland. 

So surreally brilliant was this experience that it surely pushes the northern lights, waterfall gawping and Brennivin gulping under the midnight sun as one of this weirdly beautiful north Atlantic island's highlights. That it took place on the summit of Eyjafjallajökull, the impossible-to-pronounce volcano which spouted ash across most of Europe in 2010, made it all the more memorable. 

But rather than hark on about it, I've lovingly prepared a step-by-step guide to ascending the world's most famous volcano using the medium of digital photography. Brace yourselves…

Step 1: Find a nice man with a 4x4 and ask him for a lift "up the volcano", unless you're capable of pronouncing Ay-yah-fyad-layer-kuh-tel, which, let's not kid ourselves, you're not. If he winks at you, get out of there. If not, you're good to go.

Eyjafjallajokull jeep

Step 2: Get the portable sledges out. That 4x4 will be climbing some pretty steep hills, which means plentiful downtime when the engine needs to cool. Ask the driver to "Sveif upp bindi með nokkrum Kelis, ekki Bjork," and the stage will be set for some heated sledging action. Alas, if only that heat could prevent wet bums.

Iceland sledging
Step 3: Walk the final few yards to the summit. The 4x4 is pretty powerful, but it won't take you right to Eyjafjallajökull's summit, which consists of this massive, incongruously-positioned rock covered in blue-rinsed snow.

Eyjafjallajokull summit
Step 4: Don't forget your gloves, otherwise you'll start resembling an opera singer. 

Eyjafjallajokull no gloves

Step 5: Admire the views. They are pretty.

Eyjafjallajokull view

Step 6: Walk back down and around the rock towards the volcano's CRATER OF DOOM, which is fortunately a perfectly safe exercise as it's not due to erupt for another 600 years.

Eyjafjallajokull crater walk

Step 7: Look at the crater.

Eyjafjallajokull crater

Step 8: Be photographed in front of the crater.


Step 9: Descend from whence you came.

Eyjafjallajokull 4x4

Step 10: En route, watch out for Mother Nature's booby traps. Tread in the wrong place and you'll end up in a snow-covered river.

Eyjafjallajokull river

1 comment:

  1. Love the photos and commentary! Definitely something I'll come back to when someday comes and I can plan a trip.