Massively disappointing volcano

Yeah – after this, that might come as a surprise. But wait, there’s more. This massively disappointing volcano is also in Iceland, home of exciting stuff like whale-hunting tourism, puffin pie and the Best Landscapes In The World™.
Iceland doesn’t do “massively disappointing”. Or rather, it didn’t, until now.

Imagine my excitement upon reading this headline:

The view from inside Iceland’s Thrihnukagigur volcano

Thrihnukagigur – still way up in the top 50% of Icelandic volcanoes listed by ease of pronunciation. And now they’re going inside it:

I’m being lowered through the dome of a subterranean cathedral-like space. Above me, the volcanic crater is a small bright circle in a thin tube. Beside me rainwater runs down ripples of frozen lava and cascades into the quiet depths.

OMG! How cool? How HOT? But then anticipated amazement turns into that crushing, massive disappointment.
Because what it turns out to be is just a big cave.


And I’m not alone in thinking this way; even its discoverer – a local opthalmologist – was rather unimpressed:

On Midsummer Eve 1974 Mr Stefánsson was lowered down into it with the help of nine friends. He was really disappointed.”I dreamt about finding a drainage channel with lava falls, lava pits and formations, never seen by a human eye before,” he says.
Instead he found an expanse of bare rock with a pile of rubble at the bottom, “like a stone quarry”, he said.

And, over the intervening 41 years, bugger all has changed.

Still, there’s a video of this expanse of bare rock with a pile of rubble at the bottom, so click that link above and go and play.

Just don’t expect to be impressed.

The Reykjavík Metro Police Instagram account is a thing of wonder

We at 6000 Towers think that Iceland is pretty cool. We might have mentioned that before. Repeatedly.

But here’s yet another feather in the cap of the chilly volcanic island’s cap: Lögreglan – The Reykjavík metropolitan police official Instagram account.

How cool are these guys?

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Brekkan getur oft verið ansi brött, en ekkert er óyfirstíganlegt… #þrjárbrattar & Brace yourselves winter is coming

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Fuglunum gefið brauð & Var sumarið ekki að undirbúa komu sína? #reiðhjólasumar #snjóengill

Presumably, there’s some actual police work going on at some point as well. Presumably.

I do use Instagram, but I use it to share photos rather than to follow other people – there’s Flickr and or twitter for that sort of thing. However, I’m going to make Lögreglan the first and only account I’m following. And I won’t be alone, with their cult following of almost 19,000 users.

I somehow can’t see the Cape Town metro cops doing something like this, and even if they did, I can’t see it being nearly as good as the Lögreglan one.

Yes, South Africa is very cool, but Iceland is (quite literally) a bit cooler.

Europe’s stereotypical billionaires

Here’s a map of Europe, labelled with the richest person in each country (via i100). And, given the integrated global economy, it’s actually a whole lot more stereotypical than you might imagine. In many cases, the first product you’d associate with each country turns out to be the one which makes its boss the most spondoolas:

18477-1qztgaqClick to make it biggerer

Examples include: Austria: Red Bull, Italy: Nutella, Denmark: Lego, France: L’Oréal (because you’re worth $37,000,000,000).

The only surprise in that regard might be that the richest guy in Finland, Antti Herlin, is in lifts and escalators rather than mobile phones.

Incidentally, South Africa also bucks the stereotypical trend, as Johann Rupert ($7.6bn) makes his money through selling luxury goods, rather than through iffy race relations, dreadful, rampant corruption or crime.

Please (because it’s apparently Iceland week on 6000 miles…) also enjoy Iceland’s richest man (who is not as rich as he used to be), Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, known to his friends as Bjöggi. He made his money by moving to Russia and selling beer to the Russians (sidenote: genius) before investing in investment banks and breaking Iceland’s financial system (sidenote: oops).

Dry The River

If, when he left this comment, Jon Liddle was attempting to generate some sort of interest in his son’s band’s new album, well then, he’s succeeded. I’ve had a quick wander through their back catalogue and – while there’s a bit of gospel, a lot of beard, some violin and more than the occasional hint of banjo – it’s well worth a listen. This ain’t no Mumford and Sons/Lumineers mashup. Thankfully.

Recording in Iceland was about shutting ourselves off from our daily lives and our heavy touring schedule to rediscover what Dry the River means to us. We suspected it would be some kind of otherworldly experience, and it was: beautiful and alien, lonely and taxing but ultimately rewarding.

So yes, the tenuous link was Iceland: its wild beauty and solitude. And they did a documentary on just how that worked out for them:



The end product, Alarms in the Heart, is so heavily engrained with that process, that strange location and the experience of being there, that you have to take the two together.

I’ll be giving the album a full listen and I’ll let you know how that goes, but in the meantime, here’s Gethsemane: which features on the documentary from about 8 minutes in and just. fits. perfectly.

My son doesn’t have a band, but when he does, I’ll probably advise him to head to Marion Island (SA’s equivalent of Iceland, I guess) to record that difficult second album. “Fewer beards,” I’ll also tell him.

Safety first.

UPDATE: More information about Dry The River? Here.