No way

The novel Journey to the  Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne, invented a crater within the Icelandic mountain Snæfells, into which Professor Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel descended. There isn’t one, really. Well, not today, anyway, as an official of the Iceland Tourist Board explains.

A journey to the centre of the earth?
Excuse me while I fall about with mirth!
We’ve volcanoes, lava, ice,
And our beer is very nice –
We like to think you get your money’s worth.

It’s true that long ago we advertised
That journey – but it turned out ill-advised.
A fellow called Jules Verne
Took the trip, and on return
He wrote a tale much over-dramatised.

The outcome was that travellers, once they’d docked,
Demanded “Where’s the crater?” and then flocked
To Snæfells and all round it.
So, though no-one ever found it,
Our Health and Safety people had it blocked.

And that is why, when tourists ask us where
The Snæfells crater is, we just declare:
“Sorry. Journeys to the core?
We don’t do ’em any more.
Try the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It’s over there. . .”

[Image by Édouard Riou (1864), from Wikimedia Commons]
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