This is how it is inside the largest glacier in Europe, seen by Jesús Calleja


ABC Travel



The adventurer and presenter Jesus Calleja He is currently in Iceland, one of the most fashionable nature destinations in the world before the pandemic, recording one of his programs with celebrities in company this time for Willy Barcenas (Stool). The explorer has also joined the expedition Ramón Larramendi, one of the great experts in Spain in the arctic areas, first as an adventurer and then as the founder of the agency Polar lands, specialized in cold destinations. It was Larramendi who shared on Twitter a photo taken by Calleja of an icy cave in the glaciar Vatnajokull. The exterior is a tourist place, common in organized trips to that country. But this interior view is less frequent.

In 2008 Iceland launched an unprecedented nature conservation project with the creation of the Vatnajökull national park, in whose initial 12,000 square km (12% of the country’s surface) were integrated those of the pre-existing national parks of Skaftafell and Jökulsárgljúfur. The idea was to protect the Vatnajökull –the largest glacier in Europe by volume– and all its glacial runoff in a huge reservoir. Few regions of the world, in fact, present such an interaction between emissary glaciers, dynamic ice rubble, geothermal energy and frequent subglacial volcanic activity, with its consequent floods.

The jewel of present-day Vatnajökull National Park is, for all intents and purposes, the old Skaftafell, a wild and splendid conjunction of glistening white ice, dark volcanic sands and green wooded slopes that well deserves its celebrity. Is about the country’s favorite natural area, both for Icelanders and foreigners, with more than half a million visitors per year (beware: before the pandemic!). The long ones blue and white tongues of glaciers that descend from the mountains, the set of lakes covered with drifting icebergs and the tangled network of rivers that cross the Sandar, wrapped in the silence and solitude of such places, open unusual possibilities to the experience of feeling one with nature .

The geomorphological manifestations –volcanoes, glaciers, rivers and waterfalls-, the essence of Icelandic territory, reach more than one record in Skaftafell. This is the case of the Hvannadalshnúkur (2,119 m.), the highest peak in Iceland; and also of the Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. For its part, collecting the deposits of the moraines in the form of atomized icebergs, the Jökulsárlón lagoon it composes a setting of glittering scenic beauty where the most famous of the secret agents, the incombustible James Bond, showed off his skills dodging icebergs on a speedboat in Panorama to kill; icebergs that, less than a stone’s throw away, today accompany those who visit Jökulsárlón and decide to emulate 007 by sailing in the boats available for this purpose.

A novelty on the way to success is the visit to frozen caves, generally on the edge of the glaciers, accessible from November to March, when the weather is cold, since in warmer times the ice becomes unstable. It is essential to be accompanied by a guide and to be properly equipped (helmet, crampons, ice ax, etc.), as well as to be in reasonable good physical shape.

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