I don’t love guided tours. Sure, tours can be informative and show you the main “hot spots” but half the fun of travel – for me at least – is finding the answers on my own. It does little to quench my curiosity if information is just handed to me. I need to hunt it down.
So when I was in Iceland and my travel buddy wanted to book some tours, I was stalling all over the place.
“Let’s just see what happens,” I said. “Let’s see where the day takes us.”
My travel buddy wanted to maximize the time we had by hitting all the top spots as efficiently as possible. I wanted to know what the spots were, but navigate to them ourselves, on our own time. Plus, I find that if I’m just a passenger in an organized outing, I pay less attention. I’m more present when I have to figure it out for myself, and that’s what I love about travel. It’s not about checking things off a list, it’s about being present and testing my own limits.
So when my travel buddy suggested we stop by a tour booking office to ask some questions about the sites and attractions, I was a little skeptical. So I hung back, casually flipping through pamphlets and checking out the items for sale in the store, while she asked all the questions.
And then we were reminded of a tour called “Inside the Volcano.” We had seen this particula excursion online before traveling to Iceland, but had decided not to inquire further when we realized the cost.
But somehow, once we were in Iceland, the magic of the lava fields took over, and we were both excited to go inside a (dormant, obviously) volcano.
And with little convincing needed, we booked it.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a complete convert to booking guided excursions, but I can now say that there is a time and a place for them. There are some things you need a guide for, and there is nothing wrong with that (there’s also nothing wrong with full tours in general, they’re just not for me).
So, let me tell you about this volcano.
IT IS SO FANTASTIC. I don’t know what else to say. It is so incredible to literally journey inside the earth, and see the geological lines telling you thousands of years of history.
There is a spot inside the volcano that you can get to by climbing down some rocks. You can lower yourself into a tiny little cave, and be surrounded by nothing by rock and dark and silence.
And then to realize that the process that formed this volcano thousands of years ago is the same process that (on a larger scale) formed the whole of Iceland, and that every mountain in Iceland is really just some version of this thing you are inside of…well, it’s really quite hard to describe just how that makes you feel. Small, on the one hand, and yet, powerful – because you are there, and you are experiencing it.
There are a lot of things that are free in Iceland, but this is not one of them. Going “Inside the Volcano” is one of the pricier experiences you can have (42,000 ISK), but it is worth it on every level. If you can afford it, I highly recommend it.
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