The last week before heading out to Svalbard would normally be probably better spent trying to remember all the things left behind and forgotten at home, but where is the fun in that? Instead, I managed to get on a "preparation trip" with my father and a friend Akéla to one of the most amazing places in the world, Iceland.
What can be better training for the Frozen Five expedition than pulling a pulk across Iceland's barren interior around Mt Hekla, wandering around the crater of Snaefellsjokull (remember Verne's Journey to the Centre of the World?) and eating all these Scandinavian pylsur (hot-dogs)? We managed to make some nice loops in beatiful yet crispy weather (it dropped to around -15, with a wind-chill value at least another 10 degrees below that), make some humble attempts at kiting on a frozen lake and, of course, accumulate some heat by soaking in geothermally-heated hot springs.
Iceland is a truly remarkable country, though it may be even more so for a geologist like me. The tourism industry's favourite saying "land-of-fire-and-ice" certainly holds up in Iceland, where subglacial volcanic eruptions commonly occur and even us mortals managed to sleep next to a pond with 20 degree warm water while everything else was frozen solid. Not a bad place at all, and I certainly recommend a visit!