July 19 was titled landscapes of the ring road in our itinerary. We were booked to tour a lava cave at Vidgelmir Cave at 2:00 PM. The tour was led by a tall British lad. That day we covered 962.9 km (598.3 miles). We had to rush to get to the cave in time and we left out seeing Blonduos birdwatching area, Borarvirki basalt strata and ruins, Hvitserkur Rock Stack, Hvammstangi hot springs before the cave, Reykholt historical sight, and Borg a Myrum church and farm after.
Víðgelmir is a lava tube situated in the Hallmundarhraun lava field (formed around 900 AD) in west Iceland, around 2 km southeast of Fljótstunga farm in Hvítársíða, Borgarfjörður. The roof of the lava tube has collapsed, creating two large openings near its north end which are the only known entrances. Víðgelmir is 1585 m long and the largest part of the cave passage is 15.8 m high and 16.5 m wide, making it by far the largest of its kind in Iceland. The cave has a wide entrance but narrows down in some places. An iron gate was installed at the first constriction in 1991 to preserve those of the delicate lava formations or speleothems which hadn’t already been destroyed. Evidence of human habitation, probably dating to the Viking Age, has been discovered in the cave and is preserved in the National Museum of Iceland. Long stretches of the cave floor are very rough and shouldn’t be navigated without a guide. Access and guided tours are provided at nearby Fljótstunga.
Lava tubes are formed when a low-viscosity lava flow develops a continuous and hard crust which then thickens and forms a roof above the molten lava stream. When the eruption subsides, the still-molten lava moving beneath the crust will continue to drain downhill, leaving an open lava tube. Many other lava tubes have been discovered in Hallmundarhraun, most notably Surtshellir and Stefánshellir. (souce: Víðgelmir – Wikipedia)
At one point the guide asked us to turn off the lights and asked for a minute of silence. A few of the tanagers couldn’t do it for a minute and giggled. Interesting how our brains can still see a non existent shadow of our hands.
I kept seeing round hills with nipples on top. I wonder if that is a natural volcanic feature or did the ancients have an erotic sense of humor and place stones on top of the mounds.