Lucy’s action-packed Icelandic venture continues… with the arrival of Beverley High School, a visit to the deep volcanic Kerid Crater and tales of Icelandic elves, she’s certainly been keeping active.
As Beverley High School touch down in Iceland, the weather is blowing a gale. The snow on the ground is being picked up and whirled around, before being thrown in the path of unsuspecting tourists exiting the airport.
It’s safe to say the girls get an immediate taste of how harsh Iceland’s weather can be as we make our way to the warmth of the waiting coach.
Tonight’s stop is the famous Blue Lagoon – a geothermal spa located in the lava fields of Grindavik. It’s one of Iceland’s main attractions and has become increasingly busy over the last couple of years (it’s easy to see why).
This leads me on to top tip number four: go to the Blue Lagoon after 6pm in winter and the majority of the crowds have gone, so you can enjoy the pools in relative peace and quiet before it closes at 8pm.
The next morning we leave the hotel for Kerid Crater. As the sun begins to rise and beautiful, blue skies appear, it’s clear today that Iceland is showing us another side to its ever-changing weather.
The sun bounces across the white snow, giving everything a surreal, shimmery glow… I feel like I’ve stepped on to the set of a Christmas movie.
As we head towards Gullfoss, we drive past large volcanic rocks with little green and red doors drawn on the sides.
“This is where the elves live,” Cath explains to us.
The Icelandic elves are well-known mischief-makers who can help locals out when they want to or, if they feel threatened, can cause trouble for those who cross their path!
We drive past a house set on a steep hillside surrounded by boulders – easily the same size as the sides of the house itself. When the 2008 earthquake struck, the boulders dislodged and fell down the mountainside, stopping short of the house by only a metre or two.
It seems impossible that the house wasn’t flattened by the boulders. Why did they stop just short of the walls of the house?
Apparently it was the elves who saved the family as they’d always lived in harmony with them. It’s very important to respect the elves – in fact, a road built to link the Álftanes peninsula and the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer had to be postponed as it would go directly through an elf habitat, including an elf chapel.
A local lady was brought in to mediate with the elves and eventually a compromise was struck and the chapel was relocated.
The afternoon is filled with waterfalls, geysirs and an exploration across the rift between the European and North American plates. This is also where the first parliament was established in 930AD, making it historically and geographically one of the most important sites in Iceland.
The weather stays kind to us, but those who earlier scoffed at the story of the elves living in the rocks find themselves in constant misfortune!
They can’t seem to stop falling over on the icy paths and end up being showered by the cold spray of the exploding geyser, when those standing right next to them are somehow not.
An image passes through my mind of tiny elf legs sticking out in front on unsuspecting non-believers, tripping them on the path and blowing the spray of the geyser in their direction when they aren’t looking.
Maybe my imagination is running a little wild, but top tip number five would definitely be to respect the Icelandic elves!