We love the classical Eiffel Tower or the timeless view from the Acropolis in Athens. But Europe hides some pearls that you should really start to pay attention to if you want to feel like you live in a fairy tale.
Vatnajökull, the Glacier of Lakes from Europe, Iceland
The massive ice cap (so big that it is approximately like all the other ice caps from Europe) is pulsating with life under a volcano. But this is not the only special thing about this destitute place.
Before the Vikings took this place, supposedly Saint Brendan saw this place first, but no one believed his stories of such a cold and lifeless place.
But then the Vikings found this place that they could use as farmland. In time, the island suffered colder periods but even the recent thawing (from the 19th century) did not change the face of snowy Iceland.
And how could it? Returning to Vatnajökull: in some places, the ice is thicker than Empire State Building is taller. It is rather difficult to melt 1000 years old ice, even over the years.
Geysir and Strokkur, why are geysers called like that?
Well, now you don’t need to wonder where the name came from if you saw the impressive Geysir from Iceland.
If you do not know what a geyser is, then any picture might be an indication: a periodically spouting hot spring.
Some geysers have more frequent periods of eruptions (like Strokkur every ten minutes) but the great Geysir was affected by the recent changes (for example, earthquakes). This is why some pictures of Strokkur are wrongfully credited as being the other one (they are rather very close).
The first one started to erupt less and less over the years: from daily in 1647, to more than one time in 1800, to not once in 30 years in 1907.
But what I find hilarious is that in the past this area was considered a gate to hell but now people harvest this energy to warm their homes.
Giant’s Causeway, when Maths wants to shape Ireland
We look at flowers, animals, or insects and we observe some symmetry. But can we say the same for nature, more exactly geology?
If we didn’t see at least a photo of Giant’s Causeway (in Italy) we would vehemently deny it.
Now look at it from above: the basalt columns look like some hexagonal pencils.
From the ground, this place looks like an area from a video game inspired by the legend of this place: an Irish and a Scottish giant decided to test their powers, and the Irish one built this place so that they could meet.
That’s one legend.
Another legend links the columns from Giant’s Causeway to the ones from the Island Staffa telling of the same Irish giant who wanted to meet his lover.
Eisriesenwelt, another country, another place where giants lived
If Scottish and Irish giants loved the starry sky then the Austrian giants wanted to be left alone. And what better place to hide from everyone than below the ground?
The largest ice caves in the world are truly a sight to behold. Almost 40 km of corridors, rooms, and frozen waterfalls.
The frost glows yellow, the wind blows as if it is daring you to go inside and be trapped in this place where temperatures go below freezing. (Don’t forget to bring a jacket, or three).
Earth pyramids in Ritten or fairy chimneys?
I assure you, there is no Italian that climbed these pyramids and put rocks on top of them. Who would be that crazy?
Of course, Mother Nature probably giggled when creating this place. The columns (the highest being 40 meters) have hats on top of them. Well, the stones do look like hats. And if a column loses its hat, then the column collapses.