It’s easy to see why people in Iceland believe in trolls and hidden people in the rocks. Nature isn’t so much red in tooth and claw here as alive and working in mysterious ways. Sometimes dangerous, sometimes just strange. There is ice, there is lava – often in close proximity. For example, that unspellable, unsayable volcano that caused all the trouble is currently covered in snow.
Close to waterfalls, you get crystals of ice forming on each blade of grass.
There is also a complete, joyful absence of anything approaching health and safety regulations. Where there’s a sixty foot drop from a cliff that’s covered in ice… what do you mean we need to put up a barrier? Barriers are for cowards. Vikings need no barriers. There is something that still feels a little Wild West about Iceland. I like it.
The hidden people are often said to live inside rocks here. But it’s also a place where heroes and gods don’t seem so distant or long ago. Wonder if this leads to Asgard?
Under the ground, it’s equally strange. Our guide turned out the lamps and we were in total darkness – the kind where you can flap your hand in front of your face as much as you like, the only things you’ll see are in your imagination. But when the lights came on, he showed us this lava formation. It reminds me of something from Aliens – though I was also humming Tom Waits as we crawled through the lava tunnels back up to the light.
They’re alive, they’re awake
While the rest of the world is asleep
Below the mine shaft roads
It will all unfold
There’s a world going on