ICELAND


Volcanoes, volcanic fumaroles, bubbling hot pots, steaming vents, churning pools of superheated water: Iceland has it all.

Hveradalir in the Icelandic Highlands – Photos by Jonathan PJ Smith

Iceland: The Iconic Land of Fire, Ice and Extraordinary Scenery

Along the Laugevagur Trail

In 1973 a volcano erupted behind Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. The BBC reported on it showing news footage of unstoppable magma shooting up in a fan behind a forlorn-looking house. This image was imprinted in my mind and “Reykjavik” became part of my vocabulary. I’ve wanted to go to Iceland ever since.

What We Did in Iceland

In the late summer months of 2021, as the pandemic appeared to wane, I flew there with my traveling buddy, photographer David Gala. For two weeks, we trekked the incredible Laugevagur and Fimmvörðuháls trails and four-wheel drove the Highlands. The scenery and geothermal activity we witnessed were incomparable. Iceland lives up to its hype.

Fagradalsfyall: The Best Show on Earth

We’d hoped to see Fagradalsfyall, the active volcano south of Reykjavik but it had been a dud. We went there the day after we arrived but saw nothing more than a few minor extrusions of lava at the edge of cooling magma fields. It was extremely disappointing. On our last day, as we were preparing to fly home the following morning, it erupted. All thoughts of sleep evaporated and we hightailed it south. Standing over the grandeur of Fagradalsfyall’s multiple eruptions and indomitable rivers of lava, we knew we were watching the best show on Earth. Good job Nature! Good job.

On a side note, we did end up using some of the footage from the volcano in a Halloween show later in the year.

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