In the land of hot geysers, Coren gets more than a chilly reception
WeLL, monica and Giles have sorted out the energy crisis, so that’s nice. all we need are a few dozen active volcanos.
The junketing duo continue their endless world tour in Iceland on Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby (BBc2). Oceans of superheated water bubbling up from underground at 300c generated all the electricity and filled the piping-hot radiators.
‘I love the fact that the place is just effortlessly carbon neutral,’ declared restaurant critic Giles coren. ‘It’s a vision of how the future could be.’
Perhaps he’s right, but only when global warming has caused the earth’s crust to crack open and spill molten lava down every street. Until then, the volcano-powered solution for a carbon-zero Britain might be stymied by a shortage of . . . er, volcanoes.
In the ION adventure Hotel, 30 miles from reykjavik, even the bread was baked with steam from geysers. chef monica Galetti saw how rye loaves wrapped in tin foil and squeezed into old milk cartons were left to broil in the ground for 24 hours.
monica took a lump of dried fish and grated it onto her slice like Parmesan cheese. Now we know why it’s called ‘green’ energy — that’s the colour you’ll go when you try the cuisine.
Guests at the hotel get to experience some of Iceland’s geological wonders, standing beside rivers of boiling rock and journeying into an ice cave in a glacier.
I visited Iceland in the 1990s and I remember we weren’t allowed even to step off the road close to glaciers, because the moss and lichens were so delicate.
Today’s eco-tourists were transported in buses like monster trucks, with tyres as big as millstones churning up the vegetation. It’s a funny way to save the planet.
certainly, some of the locals had their doubts. a Viking fisherman called sven in a woolly pullover that appeared to be knitted from his own beard hair took Giles fishing. ‘mass tourism . . . it’s not something I’m fond of,’ he grumbled.
This was awkward, as mrs sven worked at the hotel. No one dared say that the place was hideous, a box on stilts that looked like a sixth form college from the 1960s abandoned by fly-tippers.
at least the Icelanders don’t need to worry about a return visit from Giles. struggling into a wetsuit to go snorkelling in a glacial lake, he seethed: ‘I don’t ski, I don’t surf, I don’t scuba dive — I don’t like kit.’ He didn’t want to be there, they didn’t want him . . . it was all rather pointless.
For U.s. troops in 1941, the volcanic islands of Hawaii were
the prize destination, a couple of WWII veterans explained in Attack On Pearl Harbor (c5).
The weather was glorious and the people were welcoming. american admirals were so confident that they parked their battleships in a row along the harbourside, like cars in a layby.
speaking before the 80th anniversary of the aerial bombardment that left 2,400 dead and forced the United states into the global war, servicemen from both sides still remembered the scenes with disbelief.
Japanese bomber navigator masamitso Yoshioka described the moment he realised his country was going to war: ‘It felt as though all the blood in my body had drained from my head down to the flight deck.’
This three-parter, which continues tonight, relies a little too much on filler shots of bombs falling and torpedoes churning through water. But the economic background to the conflict, rooted in Japan’s need for oil, is well explained — and the eyewitness testimony is riveting.