Saturday, July 2, 2011


   Have you seen the Icelandic movie "Cold Fever"? It makes fun of cultural stereotypes, and the scene with the Icelandic taxi driver is my favorite part. He is driving the Japanese passenger from the Keflavik airport and starts chatting about how everything Icelandic is "the best in the world". It's funny because the conversation is nearly identical to real conversations you might have with an Icelander who is excited to show someone new around. "We have the most beautiful women in the world. We have the best lamb in the world, etc etc". 
   So it's no big surprise that Iceland also likes to take credit for the French Revolution. It's not nearly as much of a stretch as you might think. Yesterday my mom and I took a tour of the Laki crater area, which is about 75km east of Vík. In 1793, the ground split open and a 27km long chain of craters (135 of them) spewed fire lava into the air for the next 8 months. The lava flowed in giant rivers, covering a large portion of the southeast, and the poisonous fluorine-sulfuric ash drifted into Europe, turning the sky blood red and killing about six million people. Surely a terrifying time to be alive. The ash so sufficiently blotted out the sun that it changed the climate and led to massive crop failure and famine. Famine that (you guessed it) spurred the French peasants to revolt. 
   But even though the Laki area is very much active, it seems to be sleeping, and doesn't mind tourists crawling all over it's belly as it naps. A 4x4 is necessary to drive on the roads, and a few rivers must be crossed.

Hopefully this .gif works. You might have to click on it to see it in action. This is the first animation I've ever made.
Unfortunately, we didn't get outside too much on account of the rain and wind, but once you've seen one giant lava field, you've seen them all.
  Sorry for the skimpy updates. I will try to rectify that in the future. :-)

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