Mystical, dangerous, beautiful – Iceland is a realm of stark contrasts unlike any other. I quickly learn that it is a place that finds harmony in both modern architecture and society, while also embracing its rough, primordial past. On my voyage to this other world it feels as though I’ve stepped through time to a landscape similar to what the dinosaurs must have experienced – and in fact the first sight upon arriving at Reykjavik’s airport is a magnificent sculpture of a dinosaur hatching from underneath a rainbow.
With the wild landscape of this ever-changing terrain there are countless adventures to choose from, but my goal is to attempt three activities that I’ve never done before, and upon hearing that I can actually go inside of a volcano, I knew that would have to be first on the list.
While many are familiar with Iceland’s volcanic eruption several years ago that managed to disrupt flight patterns all across Europe and beyond, the volcano I’m going to explore most likely won’t have the same fate. My guide explains that typically when a volcano erupts it ends up collapsing in on itself, but this is one of the few in the entire world that for unknown reasons did not. Thrihnukagigur Volcano was only discovered about 15 years ago, still intact, however it’s now mostly underground.
Thus I begin my journey from the modern capital city of Reykjavik and travel out into countryside. Eventually we arrive at what is usually a ski resort, but this time of year the base is used to prep for hiking to the volcano. I’m given a hazmat-like yellow suit to wear as this is no ordinary hike. While much of Iceland is a luscious green, the hike to this volcano resembles what the face of Mars must look like.