In relation to its size, Indonesia is home to more volcanos than any other country in the world. One of them is the active volcano Gunung Rinjani on the island Lombok. It rises 3,726 meters or 12,224 feet high, making it the second biggest volcano in the country. An eruption of this very volcano presumably caused a dramatic change of the world’s climate back in 1258 – a year that became known as the year without summer in Europe. The eruption lead to a darkening of the sun, and ultimately, to a devastating, yet short-lived climate change whose result was crop failure and enduring rainfall. The last eruption of Gunung Rinjani was measured in 2010. Some Indonesians believe that the volcano is extinct by now.
In 2010, another volcanic eruption got some more attention: That of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland. It brought European air traffic to a standstill for weeks and it reminded some scaremongers of 1258 – although nothing came as they feared. The eruption did not have any effect on the world’s climate. The volcano did not spew enough ash into the atmosphere to cause any further disruptions. I visited Eyjafjallajokull, which has by now become one of Iceland’s top tourist attractions, in 2012. Admittedly, I did not get any further than to its foot.
Oliver, a fellow travel blogger of the Swiss Weltreiseforum has already been much closer to a volcano: In a three-day-trip, he has climbed Gunung Rinjani in Indonesia. Ever since I came across his account of this athletically challenging tour, I know that I will have to get closer to an active volcanic crater myself. Coincidentally, I will be in Hawaii in November, and Hawaii’s Big Island is home to one of the biggest Volcanic National Parks in the world. The lava flow of Kilauea, one of its active volcanos, still shapes and changes the island today and there is a good chance to see streams of it in the park. Nevertheless, it can be visited without much difficulty – as long as volcanic activity doesn’t get too voluminous, that is, dangerous for visitors.
Photos by theqspeaks, Massew64 and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.