Our arrival in Iceland was dramatic to, say the least – in large part due to a volcano eruption in Iceland which had apparently been brewing for weeks but we had no idea about.
As it was a pretty early morning flight from London (the kind that you have to start your day at like 3 a.m.) we just headed straight to our hotel – the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, intent on having a nap before going out to explore Reykjavik.
Just as I was about to nod off, our hotel suddenly started shaking and creaking.
I had no idea what was happening and just assumed someone was drilling something somewhere.
As it turns out, we were experiencing an earthquake in Iceland.
It was one of the hundreds that had hit Reykjavik in the past week or so but this one was particularly significant because this was the one that heralded the eruption of a new volcano not too far from Reykjavik.
Anyway, fast forward a few hours, all rested and napped up, we went out for dinner at Islenski Barinn and that’s when we realised that there was a volcano eruption in Iceland and it just felt so surreal.
We were wondering if we should be panicked about this but the Icelandic people in the bar didn’t seem bothered in the slightest by this.
In fact, if anything, it seemed like an exciting thing.
Anyway, we didn’t think much else of it (I think I may have posted on TikTok about it) and we just had our food and headed out to explore Reykjavik.
By the way, that restaurant Islenski Barinn is so worth a visit.
The food here is so good. It came highly recommended and I can confirm it’s so worth the hype.
Anyway, so yeah off we went exploring Reykjavik and we didn’t feel any more earthquakes in the city the entire time we were there.
Clearly, the earthquakes had been caused by this volcano waiting to erupt and once it was done erupting, earthquakes ceased.
The next day, when we woke up and checked the news, we saw so many people had hiked to the volcano which made no sense whatsoever to me.
Like why would you wanna go so close to it?
Turns out, it was all fine to do and it was such a phenomenal event in Iceland even the locals were doing this hike.
A similar volcanic eruption had happened the year before and thanks to that, the government had already created paths to hike to the volcano.
So as a spur-of-the-moment decision, we decided to hike to the volcano too. (Heads up – you can book a tour to a volcano via the link here).
The drive from Reykjavik to the Meradalir volcano eruption in Iceland is actually quite a pretty one though the wind that day was just doing the most.
You could barely walk without feeling like you were going to get blown away which actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
As it turns out, that strong wind around here is what was blowing the fumes from the volcano away so it made it safe to hike to the volcano.
The government was constantly monitoring this and when the winds changed a few days after this, they actually close down the hikes until the winds changed again and made it safe to hike to the volcano.
The parking situation was so confusing because it seemed like you were parking in a field but were expected to pay.
When we did try to pay, the payment would get to the final page and just have some sort of technical issue with the payment page being unable to load.
We just gave up on that and decided to chance it.
This was where I made what was arguably a ridiculous decision.
We thought the hike was going to be a small one and it kinda is but also isn’t.
The hike takes like 2.5 – 3 hours each way but I thought it was just over the mountain so I didn’t bother taking any snacks or even water with me.
Thankfully, Lloyd did decide to take water with him.
The hike starts off a bit steep and then when you think it’s over, it gets even steeper.
Right off the bat, you can see the volcanic flow from the preview volcano eruption and it’s such a strange surreal sea of black lava strewn along the valley between these hills/mountains.
The hike then peters off in inclination and this is the point when you can catch your breath and start to appreciate the view around you properly.
At this point, we kinda realised that there were two ways to approach this hike.
There was a path A and a path B but we didn’t know what the difference between both paths would be.
As we carried on, it became obvious that the volcano was a lot further from the car park than we’d expected but we were too close to back down now.
Anyway so that’s how we got there and I was like “Wait a second, why is this volcano angle so different to what we saw on the news?”.
It just seemed so much further away, even with a zoom lens and there didn’t seem to be any clear path to it.
Turns out, the path we’d taken was the one to see the lava flow from the previous volcano eruption in Iceland but not the current one.
We then noticed people were walking over the lava field and thought maybe it made sense to try.
Spoiler alert – it does not.
The rocks from these are so friable and will crack constantly underneath you.
You can also feel the heat in certain sections of it so you know there’s probably some activity underneath it.
Even from the edge of it, you can see how some sections are hollow so you know that it can break at any point in time and when it does, the edges are quite sharp.
We very quickly decided it didn’t make any sense to do this and just stayed back and appreciated the view from a distance.
As it got darker you started to notice how the previously ‘regular’ section of the lava fields in the distance started to glow.
That’s when you realise that there is actual hot lava on what seems like just a regular lava field.
Again, another reason why you should never hike over these fields near a volcano eruption in Iceland.
We just went up a little higher on the mountains around us to appreciate the view more, even if from afar and eventually decided it was time to hike back to the car.
We decided to take a different route back before the route we took just seemed so long.
The route back was every bit as long, maybe even longer and had bits of it that were just so hard to descend down thanks to the moveable rocks underneath you. It was just exhausting.
Eventually at around midnight we got back to the car, thoroughly exhausted, scoffed down as many snacks as possible at record pace while driving over to our next hotel in Selfoss – The Greenhouse Hotel.
Dinner for that night was a pack of Indomie noodles, some bananas and dried fruits.
The noodles were a last minute genius idea we had before leaving London and they can in so incredibly handy that evening because everywhere was closed for dinner even at the hotel.
Here’s what we got up to the next day in this post here.
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