Russell Crowe is currently in Iceland filming Noah and his Ark – the movie. Apparently, when not escorting zoo animals up and down the fjords, Russell likes cycling around town with his beard and eating Skyr yoghurt. He has not punched anyone so far. This was the shock news that hit me when I landed at Keflavik airport last weekend. It seems Reykjavik can’t get enough of bad boy Russell; in fact, they’d even put on a Festival of Bacon in his honor. The streets were awash with sausages and the Icelandic equivalent of Mumford and Sons were playing their banjos under a gazebo on the high street. Later on that night, we were treated to a firework display and some Kosovan contemporary dance on a theme of domestic violence. The next day, the girls and I packed our chunky socks and sleeping bags, popped a couple of sheep’s heads into an Eski and piled into the car  for our northerly road trip. Husafell was our first stop – a collection of summer houses and a campsite surrounded 360 degrees by mountains. Interesting facts about Icelandic countryside: blueberries grow wild and free; there is no discernible dog dirt or stingers (so pulling down your drawers for an al fresco wee is a relatively stress-free occupation). Oh yeah, and there are lots of opportunities to kill yourself: you could fall down a crevice into a scaldingly hot geo thermal pool, slip into a raging torrent of glacial melt, get run off a single lane dirt road by a tractor or get lost in a lava cave. At Surtshellir, I opted for the latter. There was a gaggle of chattering Italians around the mouth of the cave making ‘ooh, aah’ noises but no-one was man enough to go in. This was my Indiana Jones moment. ‘Stand back’ I announced to the lily-livered Latinos as Annetta (my trusty Viking companion) and I plunged into the maw of the deep, dark cave with only our head torches to light the way. After an hour of clambering we were ready for a cheese and Icelandic pickle sandwich but on reaching the other end of the tunnel, buggeration, we couldn’t get out. Twice more, we had to plunge back into the cave and clamber through another tunnel (the ice-cold glacial melt dripping down our sweat-sodden backs) before we were finally able to climb out and to safety. On the way to Akureyri, Iceland’s northerly second ‘city’ , we passed a film crew at the side of the road. Was this where we would see Russell striding out over the lava field dressed in a sack pursued by a couple of elephants? No, it was an Icelandic TV special about horses. That night in Akureyri, we went to a bar where I met a climbing instructor from Crewe and an aspiring opera singer who, with his cousin (a 20 something twat in a tie) kept grabbing hold of each other and breaking into song. ‘O sole mio’ they wailed, magnificently off-key, eyes glassy with fraternal adoration and a surfeit of Icelandic vodka . Christ, where are the Italians when you need them?