It was very early in the morning when the boat got to Iceland. We could see the round body of the Sneffells Yokul volcano going up into the sky through the clouds. It had snow near the top, and it looked like an angry monster waiting for someone to try and climb it.
The boat stopped at Reykjavik. It was a small town with small brick houses. Mr Fridriksson, a professor from the university there, met us at the boat. He looked very friendly and smiled when he saw us.
«You must be professor Lidenbrock.»
«And you must be professor Fridriksson. This is my assistant, Axel.» We shook hands.
«You got my letter, then.»
«Oh, yes, professor, and everything is ready for you. Please, come with me.»
My uncle did not tell anyone the real reason for our journey. He wanted the two of us to be the only ones to travel to the centre of the earth. But we needed someone to go along with us as we didn’t know the area, and the ice and snow around the volcano was too dangerous. So, Mr Fridriksson found us a guide. His name was Hans and he looked perfect for the job. He was tall and very strong. He had small blue eyes and long red hair. He almost never smiled or spoke.
Mr Fridriksson introduced us.
«Professor Lidenbrock, this is Hans. Hans, professor Lidenbrock and his assistant, Axel.»
Hans moved his head just a little to say hello.
«Hans is a very quiet man, like most Icelanders, but he is the strongest and best climber in Reykjavik.» My uncle smiled at Mr Fridriksson’s words.
«He’s just perfect, Mr Fridriksson.»
Mr Fridriksson let us stay at his house until we were ready to leave. We needed many things for our adventure. We took four horses to travel to the mountain. The professor and I each rode one, but Hans walked. The other two horses carried our bags.
We took a lot of things with us: rope for climbing, tools, lights, guns, medicine and enough food for six months. The only problem was we could only carry enough water for one week. The professor believed there was water under the volcano, but what if there wasn’t?
We left Reykjavik on the 15th of June, early in the morning. We travelled along the sea and it was a wonderful journey. The land had a dark colour from the explosions of the volcano, and the beautiful blue sea next to it made it look fantastic. The journey to Sneffels took us six days, and each day we stopped in a different village for the night. The villages were small and very pretty, built at the foot of the volcano, next to the sea. The villagers were very nice, but, like Hans, they did not talk much.
When we got closer to the top of Sneffels, I thought of something.
«Uncle, what happens if the volcano explodes again?»
«No, that’s impossible. This volcano had its last explosion in 1229. I checked the ground. It’s impossible.»
«Axel, I am a scientist. This is a fact. There is nothing more to say.»
It was now eleven o’clock at night and we were at the top. We stopped and found a small place inside the opening of the volcano where we could sleep. That night, I had a dream. I saw that I was alone inside the volcano. I was lost and very scared. Suddenly, the volcano exploded and I was shot out of its top like a rock!