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Norse Mythology "Thor: Ragnarok" Got Wrong

Learn the truth about Thor, Hela, Ragnarok, Loki, Odin and Valkyries.

There’s a lot going on during Ragnarok, the Norse version of the apocalypse. In fact, practically everyone dies — before the world is engulfed in flames

There’s a lot going on during Ragnarok, the Norse version of the apocalypse. In fact, practically everyone dies — before the world is engulfed in flames

While Thor: Ragnarok was a surprisingly funny intergalactic romp, Marvel’s version doesn’t quite match up to the actual Norse mythology. Here’s a look at some of the big themes from the movie, and how they differ from the legends.

Be warned: Spoilers below.

Hel, the goddess of death, is actually Loki’s daughter, not his sister

Hel, the goddess of death, is actually Loki’s daughter, not his sister

Who was Hela really?

Cate Blanchett’s badass bitch is more commonly called simply Hel (which means “Hidden”) in Norse mythology. And while she is indeed the goddess of death — an extremely powerful one at that — she’s not Thor and Loki’s older sibling. In fact, she’s Loki’s daughter, her mom being the giantess Angrboda, whose name has the pleasant translation of She Who Brings Grief. Hel’s siblings are the monstrous wolf Fenrir and Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent.

Hel’s putrid stink is a sure sign she’s in the vicinity.
Hel is half a beautiful woman, half a rotting, skeletal corpse

Hel is half a beautiful woman, half a rotting, skeletal corpse

The goddess doesn’t have Blanchett’s steely beauty — well, at least half of her doesn’t. Hel is usually depicted as being split down the middle, with one half a young woman, the other half a rotting skeleton, according to Northern Tradition Paganism. Hel’s putrid stink is a sure sign she’s in the vicinity.

Hel rules over a dominion that shares her name (much like Hades in Greek mythology). It’s this word that inspired the Christian version of Hell.

The fire giant Surtur leads the army that battles the Asgardian gods during Ragnarok

The fire giant Surtur leads the army that battles the Asgardian gods during Ragnarok

Who’s Surtur the fire giant?

Perhaps not surprisingly, he’s Loki’s godfather, having helped raise that little troublemaker.

The fire giant is more commonly called Surt (“Black”) due to his charred appearance. Instead of being a cool flaming demon as he’s depicted in Thor: Ragnarok, he’s more humanlike in Norse mythology, with a flowing beard.

He carries a flaming sword and has a destiny to fulfill (everyone in Norse myths seems to be playing out preordained roles): Lead his kin and Hel’s undead minions into battle against the gods of Asgard during Ragnarok, the cyclical destruction of the cosmos. Surt sweeps his sword across the earth, leaving nothing but an inferno. He killed the god Freyr, who in turn offed him. Few survived Ragnarok.

Everyone seems to kill each other during Ragnarok, including Thor and the Midgard Serpent

Everyone seems to kill each other during Ragnarok, including Thor and the Midgard Serpent

What exactly is the Ragnarok prophecy?

The “Doom of the Gods” is an appropriate name for the Norse version of the end of the world.

Like the Christian apocalypse described in the book of Revelation in the Bible, Ragnarok, too, is foretold by a series of omens, starting with a Great Winter (how very Game of Thrones) that lasts for three years, brought on after humans and even the gods have sunk into nihilism.

Then come the three cocks. One red rooster warns the giants that Ragnarok has begun, while a second alerts the dead. The third, which resides in Valhalla, the majestic drinking hall afterlife for heroes, lets the divine partiers know their fun has come to an end.

Even though Odin could foresee that there was no defeating Surt and his army, he and the gods still fought valiantly. During this epic war, the world is utterly destroyed and sinks into the sea. The end.

And yet it’s not the end. A new world rises from the depths of the water, and two mortals will repopulate the Earth.

The giant wolf Fenrir kills Odin, swallowing him whole during Ragnarok

The giant wolf Fenrir kills Odin, swallowing him whole during Ragnarok

How does Odin really die?

Though he was prone to wander, Odin doesn’t go off to Norway to die (after his rest home gets destroyed) and dissolve into gold dust. Instead, he perishes during the battle of Ragnarok.

The naughty Fenrir was kept chained up — until he escaped to wreak havoc during Ragnarok

The naughty Fenrir was kept chained up — until he escaped to wreak havoc during Ragnarok

Fenrir, the massive wolf who’s Loki’s son and Hel’s brother, has been a bit too wild and has been chained up by the gods. He escaped, though, and “ran across the land with his lower jaw on the ground and his upper jaw in the sky, consuming everything in between. Even the sun itself was dragged from its height and into the beast’s stomach,” according Norse Mythology for Smart People. He also swallows Odin whole, ending the life of the Father of the Gods.

You wouldn’t want to fight Thor, especially when he’s armed with his hammer Mjollnir

You wouldn’t want to fight Thor, especially when he’s armed with his hammer Mjollnir

Do Loki and Thor have a troubled relationship?

In a word, hell yes — though they did bond once in a cross-dressing ruse to win back Thor’s hammer, Mjollnir.

Thor and Loki did bond once in a cross-dressing ruse to win back Thor’s hammer, Mjollnir.
Loki convinces the manly Thor to dress up as a woman to pretend to be the goddess Freya (it’s a long story)

Loki convinces the manly Thor to dress up as a woman to pretend to be the goddess Freya (it’s a long story)

Loki is a trickster, so you never know what to expect. He’s likely to cause damage — in fact, at the time of Ragnarok in Norse mythology, he’s been chained inside a mountain as punishment for his involvement in the death of the god Balder, a favorite of the Asgardians. (Loki gave his blind brother Hod a mistletoe dart — the only thing that could harm Balder — and guided his aim so it struck and killed the deity.)

But Loki’s also known to actually help the gods as well. The Marvel universe has captured his mercurial spirit; you never know if he’s on Thor’s side — and you know you should never fully trust him.

During Ragnarok, Loki breaks free of his chains and launches an attack on his Asgardian brethren, sailing on a ship that’s somehow constructed of dead men’s nails. Eww.

In some versions of the myth, it’s Loki and not his daughter Hel who leads the army of the undead.

Thor defeats the massive serpent Jormungand — but perishes from its poison right after

Thor defeats the massive serpent Jormungand — but perishes from its poison right after

Loki’s offspring Jormungand and the god of thunder have an intertwined destiny. The two have always been bitter enemies, and the serpent is a formidable foe: He’s so large that he encircles the Earth, biting his own tail — what’s known as an ouroboros. During the apocalyptic war of Ragnarok, Thor kills the Midgard Serpent — only to die from its poison. There’s a lot of these double deaths going around.

The Valkyries choose who lives and dies in battles

The Valkyries choose who lives and dies in battles

What’s the truth about the Valkyries?

These fierce, beautiful maidens ride in groups of nine upon flying horses and guide fallen heroes to Valhalla for Odin.

Scandinavians in the Middle Ages believed the gorgeous streaks of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, were the Valkyries sweeping across the night sky, according to Credo.


LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NORTHERN LIGHTS: Why You Should Consider Visiting Iceland


A common misconception is that the Valkyrie are warriors — probably because they’re decked out in armor, are often depicted holding spears and like to hang out on battlefields.

“The meaning of their name, ‘choosers of the slain,’ refers not only to their choosing who gains admittance to Valhalla, but also to their choosing who dies in battle and using malicious magic to ensure that their preferences in this regard are brought to fruition,” writes Norse Mythology for Smart People.

The Valkyries were fierce woman who soared over battlefields on flying horses — until they were relegated to waitresses at Valhalla

The Valkyries were fierce woman who soared over battlefields on flying horses — until they were relegated to waitresses at Valhalla

While they started out as dark angels of death swooping over the slaughter of a battlefield, the Valkyries later became associated as Odin’s shield maidens, lovely virgins with golden hair and snow-white skin who serve an all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffet of mead and meat in the great feasting hall in the sky. Dead heroes remained there until called to fight by Odin’s side during Ragnarok.

Marvel’s version of Ragnarok might be a bit off-base, but it’s still a fun one nevertheless. And as much as I’d love to have seen Loki captaining that ship of yellowed fingernails and toenails, I’m glad that hottie Chris Hemsworth’s Thor survives to star in another movie. –Wally

During Ragnarok, Loki launches an attack on Asgard, sailing on a ship constructed of dead men’s nails. Eww.

11 Surprising Iceland Facts That Will (Probably) Blow Your Mind

Sure, Iceland is pretty. But there are some wacky customs that go on here

Iceland is home to political corruption, identity crises, driftwood museums, Viking sagas, low crime, bizarre naming practices, a French Revolution conspiracy theory and possible inbreeding.

 

Iceland is all the rage. I hear more and more people talking about the country as a travel destination. But there’s more to this interesting nation than icebergs, hot springs and the Aurora Borealis.

Here are some of the little-known facts about Iceland that my friends Shaun and Lindsay learned on their trip.

The largest volcano, Helka, is supposedly responsible for the French Revolution.

 

RELATED: Why You Should Consider Visiting Iceland

 

1. Icelanders take politics very seriously.

Lindsay: The people are really politically involved. The president was involved in the Panama Papers [a massive data leak that exposed how the wealthy exploit offshore tax loopholes, often for illegal activities].

There are 300,000 people in the country, and 20% of the population came out to protest in Reykjavik, and he resigned that day.

In our country, all the bankers that caused the recession got bailed out. Our guide told us that in Iceland, they built a prison and imprisoned them.

 

2. They have a bit of an identity crisis.

Shaun: That same tour guide said, “We don’t know if we’re American or European — but we just know that we are not Dutch.”

Even though they all speak Dutch, they are very resentful of the fact that they were once ruled by the Dutch.

A lot of Vikings from Norway stole Irish women, Irish princesses, and ended up in Iceland.

Somewhere over the rainbow: Lindsay enjoying her trip to Iceland

 

3. There’s not much wildlife.

Lindsay: The only indigenous animal in the country is the artic fox.

They had one type of tree and it covered 40% of the country when they first started colonizing. And then because it was so cold, they chopped most of them down. So they have hardly any trees anywhere.

Shaun: So, once they chopped down all of their trees to stay warm, they then started relying on driftwood.

Lindsay: There’s a whole museum for it!

Shaun: If you were walking along the beach and you found some driftwood, it was essentially yours, so long as you claimed it. If you couldn’t carry all the driftwood back, people started leaving their symbols or their mark on the driftwood.

 

4. Their original homes were made of unusual materials.

Shaun: A lot of the early homes and tools were built with driftwood.

Lindsay: One of our tour guides said that she remembers her grandparents living in one of these houses they made out of sod, mud and driftwood. They’re really small. They had an exhibit where we got to go into these actual houses they had moved there.

This was when we took the Ring Road to the south, where there were all the waterfalls.

 

5. There’s a road that goes all the way around the country.

Shaun: The Ring Road, the best I understand it, goes completely around the country. It takes very little amount of time to go around Iceland — I think it’s like two days.

There are a lot of fjords in the northwest section, and the south section has a lot of waterfalls and beaches. Everything in the middle is glaciers and volcanoes.

 

6. A volcano helped cause the French Revolution.

Shaun: The largest volcano, Helka (the only thing I could pronounce), is supposedly responsible for the French Revolution. It exploded, and all this ash went all over Western Europe and killed all the crops and decimated the livestock — a meter high.

The people revolted against those who were able to maintain their lifestyle.

 

7. They live in the shadow of death.

Shaun: When we were walking between the American Tectonic Plate and the European one, it wasn’t until then that I realized something about this country. People said they get asked why they live there. And they say, “Well, this is our home” — regardless of the fact that a volcano could explode or a flood could happen, and it may kill 40% of the population.

That is just part of being Iceland, realizing that any moment could be your last, and that you’d have to repopulate. Which sounds like it’s quite the process, because there are so few people there.

 

8. Families are very proud of their sagas, which are historic books.

Lindsay: Every person who’s Icelandic has access to these books. Icelandic people are obsessed with books — it’s always been a huge part of their culture.

Every family has these storybook sagas, and the government helps take care of them.

There are stories in the sagas — some of it is accurate, but some has obviously been exaggerated.

 

9. Icelanders don’t have last names. And they have to choose their kids’ names from an approved list.

Shaun: There’s a list of names that you can choose from. You can’t just make up a name for your kid.

Lindsay: If you want something off that list, you have to ask the council and get it pre-approved. And you don’t name your kid until he or she is christened. So the child doesn’t have a name for what could be three months.

Shaun: You’ll get a lot of Jóhann Jóhannssons. People say their first name, then say they’re the son of their mother or father.

 

10. They have very few police officers, Plus people park crazy.

Lindsay: We saw one policeman the entire time we were there.

Shaun: In Reykjavik, people will just straight up park on the sidewalks. They have no care in the world about where they should park.

But somehow, when we were going to the Northern Lights boat, there was a person who was getting a ticket for parking on the street. Maybe all the other people parking on the sidewalk didn’t get tickets ’cause they didn’t get around to it with their one cop.

 

11. But the country is one of the safest.

Lindsay: There’s virtually no crime. Maybe one murder a year.

 

And finally, I had to ask:

Do they worry about inbreeding with so small a population?

Shaun: My interpretation is, how could you not be? But no one really wanted to talk about that. And of course no one wanted to ask them, “Are you inbred?”

 

Well, that’s something I’ll put on my list when we finally make it to Iceland. –Wally

 

RELATED: Off-the-Beaten Path Iceland: The Phallological Museum and Other Strange Delights

 

The Icelandic Phallological Museum and Other Strange Delights: Off the Beaten Path Iceland

The buildings in Reykjavik, Iceland are covered with street art

The buildings in Reykjavik, Iceland are covered with street art

 

Some of the more bizarre things to do in Reykjavik include the Big Lebowski Bar, a penis museum and street art tours. Plus: Iceland food, from hakarl to hotdogs with lamb meat.

 

Iceland has never been on our list of places to travel to. We just never really thought about it before. Sure, the Northern Lights sound pretty cool, and who wouldn’t like the chance to randomly run into that delightfully kooky Bjork?

But we’re not fans of cold and were wary of any country with the word “ice” in its name.

They have a penis from every animal, including humans.

So no — we never really considered visiting Iceland. That is, until I chatted with Lindsay and Shaun.

Read the first part of our conversation here, in which they talk about their initial reaction to the surreal landscape and what motivated them to visit, including a spa called the Blue Lagoon and the aforementioned Aurora Borealis. –Wally

Iceland is famous for its natural beauty. But it shouldn't come as a surprise that the country that brought us Bjork also has a quirky side.

 

What was the most surprising thing about your trip to Iceland?

Shaun: One is that there’s graffiti everywhere in Reykjavik. There’s some really cool graffiti.

Lindsay: I’d say like 20% are beautiful murals.

Shaun: Everything else is bad name tags.

Lindsay: We asked our tour guide about it. I thought he’d say, “Yah, it’s a problem.” But no. He was like, “Some people think it’s just graffiti, but it’s really a mural.” I wanted to tell him, “I’m an art director. I know the difference between graffiti and murals.”

Shaun: The other surprising thing is trash. It’s everywhere. I’d get up early in the morning to go to Dunkin’ Donuts — there was one, and I like Dunkin’ Donuts — and the street sweepers do not do a good job. They don’t pick up anything.

I don’t know if they’re allowed to, but people will walk through the streets drinking openly. Glasses from the pubs litter the streets in the morning. And there are beer bottles everywhere.

 

Anything you skipped on your visit?

Shaun: The one thing we didn’t do was the museums because there’s so much natural beauty. I was told the one museum you have to go to is the Icelandic Phallological Museum.

Lindsay: They have a penis from every animal, including humans.

 

That’s one I would have gone in!

What’s the nightlife like?
Lindsay: We didn’t go out out. But we did go to the Lebowski Bar. Twice.

Shaun: The first time we walked in, we didn’t even know what to make of the place. All the tables had “reserved” on them, but I don’t think they were actually reserved. So we went upstairs.

There are themes for different parts of the movie. There’s the Playboy lounge, where there’s a bunch of Playboys on the wall, and the diner. They have a bowling lane on the wall. Sideways, with a bowling ball stuck to it and all the pins.

Lindsay: The bar is covered in the rug.

Shaun: There are awesome Big Lebowski quotes everywhere. Like, “I can get you a toe by 3 o’clock.” I had to explain to Lindsay what that was.

The second time we went, they were playing ’80s movies on the big screen. They were playing Twins. Which we both realized we had never watched, and how ridiculous it is.

And in the front of the bar, they have this giant spinning carnival wheel with various types of white Russians, black Russians, Caucasian Russians…

Lindsay: They have like 15 different white Russians.

Shaun: The wheel would spin and you’d hear everybody screaming.

And this is right down the street from the Chuck Norris bar.

Lindsay: Which we didn’t go in.

 

What was the weirdest thing you saw to eat?

Lindsay: We went into this thinking the food will be terrible. We’re not going to find anything we can eat. And then we came to find out, the Icelandic people don’t actually eat the traditional foods, like fermented shark and whale [hákarl].

Shaun: Seriously, it’s rotting shark.

Lindsay: But we found food we could eat everywhere. It’s very American bar food.

 

Did you learn any expressions?

Shaun: By the end of the trip, we figured out how to say our hotel name. Poorly, but still.

We tried to be like, sound it out. And we’d listen on an app Lindsay downloaded — and it wouldn’t be anywhere close.

The Icelandic language has a kind of bounce to it.

Lindsay: They really pride themselves on their language. They want it to last forever. Even though they do use English a lot more.

We tried to say “thank you.” Our driver to and from the airport said it was “tikka tikka” — but it’s spelled with Ps.

Shaun: That’s what we’re saying — you can’t sound out anything in that country.

 

Any strange customs?

Lindsay: The service is not the same. You don’t pay gratuity. There’s a lot of self-service.

Shaun: If you’re at a restaurant and you order a soda, you go up and get it yourself at the fountain machine — even if it’s sort of in the kitchen.

And no one will bring you a check. You have to go get it.

 

Did you buy some cool souvenirs?

Shaun: They have these big Icelandic wool sweaters, which apparently are the thing you have to buy when you’re there. And then right next to them would be old American hair metal band shirts.

 

Anything else you’d say fellow travelers must experience?

Shaun: I do have to say that if you go to Iceland, you will hear about the hotdogs. [Dramatic pause] Have the hotdogs.

Lindsay: The best hotdogs I’ve ever had in my life.

We read about this hotdog stand in downtown Reykjavik, right near the club district.

They’re mostly made of lamb.

Shaun: In the countryside, they get so excited that it’s lamb season.

Lindsay: For three months, lambs roam pretty much the entire country.

Shaun: They’re so adorable — we make sweaters from them, and then we eat them.

Lindsay: They slaughter them in the fall after they’ve spent the whole summer gallivanting around.

 

Any Bjork sightings?

Shaun: We had a driver who mentioned he once picked up Bjork from the airport.

Lindsay: She was going to a holiday party and she had all the gifts she was giving out on her dress.

Shaun: And he said it took him half an hour to get her and her dress into the cab. 

Why You Should Consider Visiting Iceland

The Northern Lights, glaciers, the Blue Lagoon — you might be surprised how otherworldly beautiful Iceland can be.

The Northern Lights aren't guaranteed — which makes seeing them all the more powerful

The Northern Lights aren't guaranteed — which makes seeing them all the more powerful

For a first trip abroad, many people choose something comfortable — a beach resort on some tropical isle, or a tour of the churches and museums of Western Europe. Not Lindsay and Shaun.

They took what they’re calling their “babymoon” — one last jaunt before their son is due — to Iceland.

Here’s the first of a series of Iceland posts from my interview with Lindsay and Shaun. –Wally

I thought, I’m never going to see anything this beautiful again.

  

Why did you choose Iceland?

Lindsay: It was really me who chose Iceland. I was going there regardless if Shaun went.

Shaun: Lindsay said, “I don’t give a shit if you go. If you want to go with me, great. It’s my trip — and don’t complain about the flight. I can’t have any stress.”

Lindsay: A lot of bloggers have been putting out a bunch of images and travel advice, and it was beautiful scenery. It was exotic. This was our first trip with a passport. I wanted to go somewhere cool and unique and not where everyone would expect us to go. Somewhere where it was also very safe.

 

What about the cold factor?

Lindsay: I don’t like heat, and Shaun doesn’t either. It was 40º to 45º the entire time. It was awesome. No humidity. We were like, this is the best vacation weather ever!

 

How would you describe the landscape?

Shaun: It felt extraterrestrial. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was watching the sun set and then turned and saw a second sun rising over the horizon. You could easily travel there to film some alien planet.

Lindsay: The whole place is covered in volcanic rock. All black, and then moss grows over it. And there are volcanoes everywhere, but they don’t look like volcanoes. They just look like mountains.

To be honest, what also drew me there was the Blue Lagoon.

 

Lindsay enjoying herself at Iceland's Blue Lagoon spa — no Brooke Shields or Christopher Atkins sightings, though

Lindsay enjoying herself at Iceland's Blue Lagoon spa — no Brooke Shields or Christopher Atkins sightings, though

What’s the Blue Lagoon?

Lindsay: It’s actually not natural — it’s manmade. It’s a giant lagoon hot spring and it’s iridescent blue. It’s so crazy-looking and amazing.

Shaun: I believe it’s heated by a geothermal plant. They filter water in, and it’s recycled out every 48 hours. It smells like sulphur. Everything around it steams, and there are lava rocks all around.

Lindsay: It’s a giant spa. There are little caves and bridges you can swim under. There’s a swim-up bar. And there’s mud mask stuff you can just grab and put on everywhere.

And we got the special in-water massage.

 

In-water massage?

Lindsay: It was awesome. You float on this yoga mat thing, and they cover you with a warm blanket and massage you.

Shaun: This was my first professional massage.

The strangest part is that when you’re sitting on top of the water for a long period of time, the warm water has gone away so you start to get a little cooled off. So they’ll take the bottom of the mat, and submerge it three or four times and you go down with it, and you’ll warm up that way.

Everyone tends to go to the Blue Lagoon when you get off your flight on your way to Reykjavik, ’cause it’s like a 50-minute drive from the airport. It could be a nice way to relax after the flight.

 

What were the locals like?

Lindsay: Everybody speaks English. They have to learn Dutch, English and Icelandic, and they mainly speak Icelandic to each other. But with anybody they thought was from another country, they almost always spoke in English. Good English. It was really easy to get anything we needed.

They are really nice, friendly people. It almost felt like it was a small town — and it kind of is ’cause it’s a small country. People say hi to each other.

 

How’s the economy in Iceland?

Lindsay: Their unemployment rate is like 2%, and our tour guide said it went up to 26% when the recession hit. Tourism brought them back. He said that a lot of Icelandic people forget that because it’s kind of a hassle for them right now to have all these tourists. It’s dramatically boomed for them. They don’t have the infrastructure for it.

Shaun: It’s their second-biggest industry right now. It’s fishing and then tourism. Every single person we talked to mentioned that they don’t have the infrastructure for tourism. And we were like, “Oh, we know a whole bunch of people who will be here next week!” Apparently the Kardashians are there right now.

 

What was the most beautiful thing you saw?

Lindsay: Definitely the Northern Lights. I cried when I saw them — they were so beautiful. I wasn’t expecting to see them because it was the end of the season. We went on April 9 and the end of the season was on the 19th, and our first tour was canceled.

And then we saw them, and it was a blip for a second, and it wasn’t even that bright. But I was crying and saying, “They were so pretty!” and Shaun’s like, “I’m a little underwhelmed.”

And then they came out like crazy — they were all over.

The Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, were the most beautiful part of the trip

The Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, were the most beautiful part of the trip

 

Did you do a tour?

Shaun: We were on a boat ride. They took us out into the harbor and then the lady who was telling us the story about the Northern Lights, it was almost like she summoned them: “The Northern Lights have appeared!” over the loudspeaker.

Then she introduced some guy who came on reading poems about the Northern Lights. At one point, he broke out into a song like it was a rain dance.

Lindsay: He had a terrible voice.

The lights went on for an hour. It just got better and better.

 

What did the Northern Lights look like in person?

Lindsay: That’s hard. They are green — but not as bright as the pictures show them because your eyes can’t perceive that color as bright. They dance, but they’re so slow. Fading in, fading out. Almost like blobs of light in the dark night.

Shaun: They’re kind of like wispy clouds.

 

Do you know how they’re created?

Lindsay: The easiest way for me to explain it is that it’s when the sun flares and hits the atmosphere, this is the reaction: the Aurora Borealis.

I thought, I’m never going to see anything this beautiful again.

 

What was the coolest experience?

Lindsay: Aside from the Northern Lights, it was being on the glacier — even though it was very treacherous getting there.

 

How was it dangerous?

Lindsay: We took a jeep tour, so there were only six people for 10 hours. Our guide took us around the Golden Circle, which is these four specific stops everyone sees in Iceland that are very touristy but beautiful.

A lot of people go to see a glacier. Well, we got a tour specifically to ride and drive on the glacier. I sat in the back. It was very bumpy — I was hitting the ceiling. I was like, this is not good for the baby. So finally I moved.

When we got there, we were going to snowmobile on the glacier, and I thought, I probably shouldn’t.

But our guide took us on a private tour. Literally, this jeep is like a monster truck. He drove it straight up the mountain, and had to go back down in reverse because he couldn’t get to the top.

 

One of the highlights of an Icelandic vacation is a trip to a glacier

One of the highlights of an Icelandic vacation is a trip to a glacier

What did the glacier look like?

Lindsay: It’s a giant mountain of white. There was nothing for miles and miles, and there was hardly anybody there.

We also got to see the glacier river — beautiful.

Glacial runoff filtered through lava rock results in some of the cleanest-tasting water ever

Glacial runoff filtered through lava rock results in some of the cleanest-tasting water ever

The country has way more water than they can even drink. And it’s all naturally filtered through the lava rock. So it’s the cleanest, best-tasting water ever — and it comes right out of the tap.

 

What was the worst thing about Iceland?

Shaun: The hot water smells like eggs.

Lindsay: It’s all sulphur, so when you’re showering it smells like rotten eggs. That was the only downside.