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And You Think YOU Need to Dust?

The Westman Islands

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Yet another night at a beautiful campsite, this one with waterfalls!


We left Happy Camper in the parking lot & took the 40-minute ferry to the town of Vestmannaeyjar on Heimaey Island, one of the Westman Islands.


The island experienced a volcanic eruption in 1973. It started one night in January. All the fishing boats were in the harbor because of the bad weather that day, so they were able to evacuate 5000 of the 5,300 inhabitants. Three hundred chose to stay to observe, work, or whatever. The eruption lasted for six months. Ash covered the town. Ash poles like these show how high the ash reached in different areas of town.


Lava destroyed 400 structures. These “new” lava areas are currently blooming with spring wildflowers. Street signs mark the streets that lay well below.

The lava also increased the size of the island 20% and narrowed the inlet, actually making the harbor waters calmer & safer.

Around 2006, the city excavated one of the homes that had been completely buried under pumice & ash & decided to build the Volcano Museum around it...literally.


While we were in the museum learning about the eruption, the evacuation, the clean-up, & the rebuilding, a gentleman approached us & said, “This is the woman whose house this is.” Seriously? Gerður, who must be in her 70’s, talked with us personally for a few minutes about her home & the night of the eruption. She lives in Reykjavik now & just happened to be at the museum with a tour group while we were there. She said she has been a guest escort with four tour groups in the last few years.

This island was kind of my last hope to see a puffin. I got really close.


These street signs indicate directions to the town swimming pools. Today’s facility on the island was terrific! It has one large indoor pool. Outside is an elaborate children’s area with shooting water fountains, water mushrooms, & a short climbing wall in the pool, so a fall simply puts you back into the water. In addition, there are three straight racing water slides side by side, a taller curvy one, and a final TALLER one that shoots out a few feet above a kind of trampoline slide, which extends another 20 feet before dumping into the pool! Earl & I both tried that one out. In addition, there are three hot pots of varying temperatures, a steam room, & a one-person-only cold plunge. Earl & I are now honorary Icelanders for having done the cold plunge!


Posted by WorldTravl 22:50 Archived in Iceland Tagged volcano island

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