What could be more exciting than walking the biggest glacier in Europe? So I went to check it myself.
The weather was beautiful, which is rather an exception for a stormy February in Iceland. I was a little worried that I have never climbed a glacier before and have never used crampons or an ice axe... At the gathering point, Troll Expeditions was lively: everyone picked up the crampons and axes, boarding the huge bus and were excited about the adventure.
So what exactly is this glacier would you ask? The Vatnajokull Glacier is the largest in Europe, occupying 8% of the territory of Iceland, that is 8.1 thousand kilometres. Could you imagine that! We were in one of the “tongues” of the glacier - Falljokull. To continue the hike we were shown how to wear and use crampons. Here's a practical tip - wear hiking boots, preferably above the ankle for better support. However, you can rent such shoes from Troll Expeditions.
Our tour included a trip to an ice cave and the hike itself. The cave was small, but its ice was stunningly blue with air bubbles that are about 300 years old. The hiking part was easy, without climbing, so anyone could do it. Our guide showed us the cracks in the glacier, they deepened over time, and now the guides lead groups right through them. There are many hidden faults and dips on the glacier, it’s better not to carry out this adventure without a guide.
Among interesting facts, it turned out that the glacier moves forward several centimetres every day. However, in the summer the glacier melts significantly and retreats. It turns out that the oldest layers of ice are the closest to the bottom, they are displaced in new layers on top. In the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, icebergs breaking away from the glacier can reach several thousand years! We just licked 300-years-old ice 😊
On the glacier, we met two ravens, who were named after Odin's ravens. However, this is not the only life on the glacier, as there are also “moss mice” - the kind of moss that survives under the glacier. According to the guide, if you kiss such a mouse, you can find your Viking love! We did not try, but I am sure that there are chances ...
The whole trip was filled with jokes and fun, the weather pleased with the bright sun and calm. Ideal conditions for a walk along the glacier.
In general, our tour took about 4 hours, that flew by completely unnoticed. The group was no more than 10 people so that everyone was under control and adapted to the pace of the tour. I can strongly recommend this tour, it is a unique and fascinating experience!