I heart Jules Verne! He wrote Journey to the Center of the Earth in 1864 and it still resonates today. All of his work is compiled in the series Extraordinary Voyages, but Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea are my favourites. I must confess that I haven’t read all of his work though.
Journey to the Center of the Earth tells the story of Professor Otto, his nephew Axel and the guide Hans as they travel towards the centre of the earth in volcanic tubes. The journey starts in Iceland in the Snæfellsjökull volcano and ends in the Stromboli volcano in Italy. It’s been over 150 years since written, but this story is still fascinating. I have now seen the beginning and the end of the journey!
I booked the Snaefellsnes Peninsula Day Tour: “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” from Extreme Iceland for my adventure or my Jules Verne Day as I called it.
I had a fabulous day with spectacular views everywhere I turned and looked. I also met some fabulous like minded travellers!
As is my fate, my hair did me proud and I had a great hair day with all the damp weather.
Located in Western Iceland, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is spectacular.
This lava tube is estimated to be 8000 years old. It is 200 metres long and is 35 metres below the surface. We climbed down a number of spiral staircases to reach the different levels of the tubes.
At the lowest level, the guide had us all turn off our flashlights. I have never experienced darkness like that before. It was black beyond description.
I imagined that this was the lava tube Jules Verne had in mind when he wrote his book.
Look at the curls! I blame my Mother.
You can see one of the the spiral staircases in the corner.
Gerðuberg Basalt Columns
Similar to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland! These columns were formed from the flowing lava being cooled by the sea. I still do not quite understand how all the columns are so even.
Berserker Lava Field
This lava field is approximately 4000 years oldand is named for the legend of two berserkers.
From “Iceland Travel”:
According to the Eyrbyggja Saga, a ‘berserker’ was promised the hand of a local resident’s daughter if he cleared a path through the lava field, but was instead rewarded with murder upon completion of the task. As the tale goes, a 10th century farmer called Viga-Styrr had two Berserkers, from Sweden, who worked for him. One of the men fell in love with the farmer’s daughter and asked to marry her. While the farmer wanted to refuse he was a little afraid of doing so.
He consulted with the local chieftain. The lord suggested he allow the marriage if the berserker would first complete an impossible task. The chieftain proposed forging a road through the rugged lava field in one day. If they did Styr wouldn’t have to travel such a long distance around it when he wanted to get to the other side to where his brother lived. The berserker agreed. He and his compatriot set to work right away, putting all their “berserk” aggressive energy to the task.
They finished before sundown. Simultaneously pleased about the road and alarmed by his prospective son-in-law, the farmer invited the two Berserkers to relax their tired muscles in a special sauna he had built for them. However this was a trap and the farmer killed and buried them both.
Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall and Kirkjufell Mountain
Kirkjufell is 463 metres high and was the setting of “Arrowhead Mountain” in Game of Thrones. Stunning!
Seeing Snaefellsjokull in the distance was the highlight of the day for me! It had been so foggy and cloudy there was some doubt whether we’d see it at all. I wanted to head straight there, find a lava tube and go on my own journey to the centre of the earth!
All in all, a fantastic day seeing the amazing sights on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula!