Just to the North of Vatnajökull, the biggest Glacier in Europe by volume. I had taken the F88 road down to here from the North, having left the main highway around 10pm the previous night. I had to ride my motorbike over quite a few deep rivers to get it to here. One river was probably around 60cm deep and probably at about the limit of what my motorbike could handle. I walked the river before riding it to check the depth, only to confirm my suspicions… It was very cold! On camping that night it was a long time before my feet warmed up again. The following day I wrung out my wet socks and put them back on and then my wet motorbike boots. Today was not exactly warm either, probably because of the altitude, unknown to me at the time it was to snow later this day. I had been so cold riding that I lost concentration for a few seconds and managed to fall off of my bike on the soft black sand, lucky for me there was no damage to me or the bike and after I managed to get the machine back onto its wheels I was on my way again, yet I was now a bit more scared of the deep sand patches than I was before. On reaching the location this picture was taken, I stopped for something to eat to try and warm myself up, quite proud that I’d managed to get my motorbike here the way I did. Later the feeling was quite spoiled by the 3 national park rangers that treated me as if I was trespassing on their land. The first of the 3 asking me “Can I help you with something?”, I asked him about the road conditions further on, yet I knew full well by the tone of his voice that this is not what he meant. Apparently they had been having trouble with people arriving on motorbikes and riding off the road. This is a huge “No No” for this area. Never-the-less I bore the brunt of their annoyance of the riders who did this almost as if it had been me. Thank you to the final ranger who I met who actually treated me as if I were human again!
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.