I have seen Gaumukh Glacier in India and we had to trek 18 Kms to reach there. I do not think there is any Glacier in India where we can reach by car /scooter. Glacier means trekking some rugged terrain and reaching high upto glaciers.
Iceland has this unique feature. Here the Glaciers can be reached without trekking. Even you can roam around on the glaciers ! So I filled the tank of my CRV and started towards glacial journey. First the 2nd biggest glacier of Europe and then the Biggest one.
Our journey took us through the longest under-sea tunnel / motorway. The tunnel is about 7 Kms long and is 550 feet below sea .
We reached HraunaFoss, a miraculous water fall where there is no river but only water fall coming out of dry barren lava fields. This water fall is about 1 Km wide and looks awesome
In the way we visited hot water springs where hot boiling water is gushing out of rocks @ 990 liters a minute. This hot water is used for heating the green houses around and then taken by pipes to nearby cities to supply to public.
Click on “Play” button below to see the short film to appreciate the miracles of Mother Nature
Then we started our journey towards second biggest glacier Langjokull (covering an area of 950 Sq Kms). We drove some 16 Kms on fair weather road and the majestic glacier was before us, shining and smiling….
We can have a tour of the glaciers in this grand truck
Then we turned towards the biggest glacier of Europe called Vatnajokull. This glacier is 8200 Sq.Kms with ice as thick as 1 Km. This glacier is also house of 3 active volcanoes under its thick ice and 3 active volcanoes around it.
in 2010, one volcanoe near this glacier erupted and caused major air-traffic blockage all over Europe. This year also 3 months before, another volcano (grimsvotn) eruped inside the glacier and the ash reached capital.
This glacier has many snouts reaching the roadside and we can see a part of this glacier while driving on road no. 1. Some photos of snouts of this glacier.
Then we reached one snout of the glacier… parked our car just before it and had a little stroll on it. People can have a round of the glacier on dog-sledds, snow scooters, on monster jeeps or simply a guided walking tours.
This part of the glacier was nearest to the volcanic eruption and hence the whole glacier was covered with black volcanic ash. We had to remove the ash to see the actual color of the glacier.
Many tourists, who dare venture into this glacier, die or remain untraceable for years. The Glacier is very dangerous alone and the climate is elusive on it. There is always a danger of volcanic eruption. Even a smaller one can bring a flash flood of melted glacier ice. Guided tours are quite safe…but you must appreciate the efforts they undertake to take you to the glacier tops.
Our next trip was towards ICE-LAGOON, where James Bonds A view to a kill and Die another day and also famous films Tomb raiders and “2012” were shot on Glacier Vatnajokull or around it.
Here we are going now …ICE LAGOON
Remember the scene of James Bond’s film Die another day, where Pierce Brosnan had a car chase in a lagoon with an ice palace in background ? Voila there we are going now to the Ice-lagoon, One of the most beautiful place on earth.
The Vatnajokull glacier, the biggest glacier in Europe is surrounded by magnificent mountains, slopes… the whole route to Ice-lagoon gives a feeling as if we are in heaven. Beautiful small villages, water-falls and meadows !!!
This Glacier is home of some most dreaded still active volcanoes of Iceland, Katla being one of them. Last volcanic eruption in May,2011
In the way we saw a beautiful water fall called seljalandsfoss.
The beauty of this waterfall is that we can go behind it and see another magnificent view.
After a few kilometers and we were before another magnificent water fall called SkogaFoss.
We went uphill above the water fall and there was a breathtaking view of the valley and the little river from the water fall.
Finally we reached the Ice- lagoon (Jokulsarlon). The lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the Icelandic glaciers. The lagoon now stands 1.5 kilometres away from the ocean’s edge and covers an area of about 18 Kms. It is the second deepest lake in Iceland at over 200 metres (660ft) depth. The size of the lagoon has increased fourfold since the 1970s.It is considered as one of the natural wonders of Iceland.
Glacier from which the big chunks of ice break and float into lagoon.
Then we had a round of the lagoon in a special amphibian vehicle, which looks like a truck but it becomes a boat when it enters water.
Click on Play button to See the short film below taking a round of this magnificent lagoon.
After this wonderful experience, we came back to Reykjavik. Next I will take you around Reykjavik.