Viktória is the “new girl” – here at What’s On and in Iceland. She comes from Hungary, studies Viking Stuff at the University and loves photography, so we’re sending her on ALL the tours to get a fresh perspective on what they’re like. As the old Icelandic saying goes “perceptive is the eye of the visitor.”
Iceland is aptly named, it has some of the largest glaciers in Europe and 11 % of its landmass is covered with glaciers. If you’re travelling in Iceland, you really can’t miss the opportunity to see a glacier up close. You can travel right up to the edge of a glacier, go hiking or climbing on a glacier, but why should you be content with walking on the surface of a glacier when you can go underneath it?
Into the Glacier is a tour that takes you into a man-made cave in the glacier Langjökull, the second largest glacier in Iceland. Langjökull is just a few hours away from the city and even though I’d seen it before, I was real excited to see the inside of it. The meeting point is about two and a half hours away from Reykjavík and from there you get picked up by the vehicles that were imported from Eastern Europe (roughly where I come from) and specifically built for this purpose. Our guide was Hrefna (a name derived from the Icelandic word for raven). She seemed to know everything there was to know about glaciers in Iceland (and the Into the Glacier project) and was keen to share her knowledge while she showed us around.
Before we even got up to the glacier, we got to see some natural wonders à la Iceland. The waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss are a magnificent display of the forces of mother Earth and the crisp winter cold was the perfect accompaniment. Still, no one likes to be cold on their vacations. I quickly learned I didn’t need to worry about the cold in this tour. It didn’t look good for a while when we got out of our vehicle on the glacier; we could barely stand upright because of the wind and the cold was biting. After we got into the glacier, however, the conditions improved instantly. Apparently the temperature inside is always around 0°C, a welcome change from the windy-cold outside.
The ice cave itself is huge! There’s a hall where they host parties, concerts – and also a chapel for weddings! The walls of the cave are a clear blue or white and they’re lit with LED lights, sometimes coloured, sometimes white. As much as I was impressed with the coloured lights, I preferred the white ones as they made the colour of the ice itself visible. Not only was the cave itself gorgeous, there’s also a lake inside the cave. With the freezing temperatures outside that seems hard to believe but apparently, if it’s a temperate glacier, it’s always around melting point. The lake was not very big but deep. There’s something about standing by a lake inside a glacier that’s difficult to describe. You’ll just have to see it for yourself when you visit.
Our tour into the glacier was unforgettable and Hrefna, our guide, was a big part of why the trip was so memorable. At one point, she even sang us an Icelandic lullaby, although the song had more of an edge to it than I’m used to when it comes to songs intended to lull children to sleep. It was the song of a mother leaving her newborn behind as she and her outlaw husband had to go on the run. Trust the Icelanders to be creepy with their lullabies.
I often get the question: What’s the best time to come to Iceland? The thing is, whatever time you come to Iceland, you’re going to be amazed as each season has its own unique beauty. The harsh winter conditions, with dark rocks and cliffs jutting out of the cover of snow, inspires awe while the Icelandic summers have a milder, more verdant type of beauty. This tour is perfect for people who prefer the former type of majestic landscapes. Lucky for them, the glaciers are there all year round.