Monday, June 15, 2015

Boiling an Egg in Iceland

Mattias and Noah watch a German television program called Sending Mit Der Maus, which does kid-oriented documentaries on various subjects. In an episode about Iceland, as a demonstration about how Iceland is volcanic, they cook an egg in a hot spring. Ever since Mattias saw this episode he has wanted to "cook an egg in a volcano." He has wanted to do it so badly, that it became The Most Important Part of our Iceland Stopover.

We were warned in advance by several natives of Iceland that this was very dangerous and we must be very careful. Hot springs are truly very hot. And the ground isn't always stable around hot springs. Finding the place to boil the egg was going to be a challenge. On one flight, a man from Iceland typed the name of a place where we might go to boil an egg onto Fritz's iPhone. We were never able to locate this place on a map. And google didn't seem to recognize it, either.

At first, Fritz wanted to scan the landscape for steam rising into the air and then take off driving across the landscape in the direction of the steam. I vetoed this plan on account of the notice plastered on the passenger side of our rental car, basically telling us we were not to go off-roading in the vehicle. Also, kids in the car! Kids in the car!

Then we decided we should start by visiting the geyser named Geysir. It's a major tourist attraction. Except Geysir doesn't erupt with the frequency of Strokkur, so instead we saw Strokkur erupt, not Geysir. It looked like this:

Hmmm. Well, that's hard to see. How about here, in the background:

The areas around the geysers were filled with bubbling hot springs. They were all roped off. I spent most of my time chasing Trixie away from the ropes while Fritz spent his time scheming how we could drop an egg over the ropes and into a hot spring with some sort of fishing pole.

The whole thing made me think about my parent's trip to Yellowstone a few years ago. They complained a lot about how disrespectful the German tourists were at Yellowstone. I've never been to Yellowstone, but I understand there is a huge effort on the part of Yellowstone to protect the fragile ecosystem of the geysers and springs. Apparently, the German tourists my parents ran into were not very respectful at all. The trampled in place they shouldn't and ignored ropes and signs. This partially surprises me, because Germans can be so uptight about following procedure. And it partially doesn't surprise me, because, look: here I was at similar tourist attraction and my German husband was trying to talk a German-speaking tour guide into giving him her walking stick so that he could put an egg in a sock, and tie string to the sock, and tie the string to her walking pole, and then dip an egg in the hot spring for 10 minutes while the egg cooks. IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY. Because it didn't explicitly say NO BOILING EGGS.

Fortunately, the guide had a better idea. There's a Geothermal Park in Hveragerði, where they would sell us the eggs and rent us the fishing poles. 

I was relieved.

Also, how cool is a Geothermal Park? Whose ever been to a Geothermal Park?? 

Where you can take a foot bath, 

or see bread being baked by steam,

(Noah is not suppose to be off the path. He must be German. Or just 8 years old.)

or boil an egg?


No, I mean, hot. Very Hot.

Everyone was so happy to boil their egg! It was also very surreal to walk around in the steamy landscape. Descriptions next to the different features were excellent.

Noah and Mattias thought this one was particularly hilarious: Garbage Hot Spring:

Once upon a time it was a mere fumarole that people threw their trash in. After a nearby volcanic eruption, the fumarole erupted, too. It exploded the garbage all over the town and a hot spring appeared in its place (except there was no water in the hot spring while we were there).

Usually, I don't like boiled eggs, but I found my hot spring boiled egg to be especially delicious. We stopped by a restaurant in Hveragerði for lunch, one of the few times we "ate out," where all the food was cooked (on this giant outdoor oven) using heat from the earth. They served the special Icelandic bread which is cooked in the ground so slowly that the sugar caramelizes. It was sweet!

(Grapes hover above Fritz's head in this greenhouse.)
Hveragerði was a really interesting town; if we had known more about it before we arrived, we might have stayed there longer. They grow a lot of food and flowers in geothermally heated greenhouses. They also have a "hot river" a few kilometers hike from town, which sounds particularly intriguing.

1 comment:

Pregnantly Plump said...

That is very cool!