Leaving College at 4am on a mild Sunday in October, A2 geographers landed in Iceland before midday to snow covered grounds. Meeting our tour guide Gunnar and our coach driver Svanur we proceeded to the Reykjanes Peninsula, almost completely covered with lava flows, walking up lava cones and craters just as Neil Armstrong had done in training before his mission to the Moon. After lunch we discovered Krysuvik Geothermal Field where the steaming vents, fumaroles and mud pots bubbled away, whilst the snow fell on us, including Midnight the Owl, our trip mascot. Our first and last nights were within a wonderful hotel in Reykjavik (with great Wi-Fi much to the joy of the Tweeters!).
Monday morning we awoke to brilliant blue sky, sunshine, calm seas and three hours of whale watching. Whited beaked Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises and a Minke whale later we warmed up from our -5oC experience with lunch at the Thingvellir National Park, drinking water directly from the fresh pure lake. Before moving on to the Strokkur Geysir where water sprouts and sprays 35m every 3-8 minutes, and arriving at the star attraction of the famous Gullfoss waterfall for sunset, where the river drops 32m. We then proceeded to Hvolsvollur, where after a session of karaoke we settled into our log cabins which were to be our home for the next two nights.
Walking along the Glacier snout of the Solheimajokull Glacier before arriving at Vik and Reynisdrangar the sea stacks, rising 66m metres out of the sea, which is the most southerly point of mainland Iceland, we proceeded to do a spot of Pilates on the black pebbled beach and tried a delicacy of local (sustainable) shark. Learning about the Folklore stories of Trolls and the Hidden Folk was reinforced by a visit to the Skogar Folk Museum, where the 4′ high doors were a struggle for some students, but not all staff! After climbing the steps to view the stunning 60m high Skogafoss waterfall we visited a geothermally heated swimming pool before returning to have a Onesie night at our accommodation, complete with glow-sticks as we had not yet managed to witness the Northern Lights, so we created our own!
Gunnar and Svanur had to leave us this evening replaced by Arni and ‘Joe’, but before they departed they told us that Tavistock Students were some of the best that they had ever experienced and they wished that all their school groups could be like us. Then asked to be requested by name for our returning trip next year.
Wednesday brought us to the spectacular Seljandsfoss waterfall which allows you to walk behind it and a visit to the Eyjafjallajokull eruption visitor centre focussing on the 2010 eruption that caused devastation on a local level and international chaos as airspace came to a total standstill. We then visited the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant which is a state of the art plant showing how geothermal energy is harnessed in a sustainable manner, in a country where 90% of the energy is green. We finished our day with a walking tour of Reykjavik, including tasting ‘the most famous hotdogs in Iceland’…some students went back for seconds.
Our last morning had time again in Reykjavik, where shopping, museums and Icelandic coffees were on the agenda in +17oC, even seeing David Cameron- in passing! Before having lunch at the Perlan viewing platform, one of the more recognisable landmarks in Reykjavik where 5 immense hot water tanks are topped with a domed revolving restaurant. We then relaxed and enjoyed the world famous bright blue mineral-rich swimming pool, with geothermally heated water in the middle of a large lava field, that is the Blue Lagoon. Meaning we arrived for our evening flight all pampered and chilled. Returning to College at 0400 on Friday.
The students were an absolute delight, they were sensible on the volcanic terrain and terrific fun throughout. Every single element of the experience was made even more pleasurable by the wonderful students that we took on this all inclusive Geography Iceland 2015 expedition. Takk og Bless (thank you and goodbye!).
Josh- It was amazing. I loved seeing all the waterfalls
Freya- so much fun and unforgettable (didnt want to come home) real geography in action
Tash- An incredible experience, unforgettable
Daisy- Iceland was a geographically fascinating experience- we had so much fun
Lily- thank goodness for swimming pools heated to 37oC
Martha- It was an amazing experience, one that I will never forget
Scot- Iceland, more than just a cold, expensive Dartmoor! Much more…
Beth- it was made to be a really fun trip, I especially loved the Blue Lagoon and Whale Watching. The landscapes were truly incredible
Katy- the opportunity to experience a diverse and beautiful country was simply amazing.
Amy- It was an adventure and I loved every single minute of it!
Jack- What can I say about Iceland? An amazing once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.
Rebecca- A once in a lifetime opportunity to go to an amazing country with great friends and great staff.
Sophia- The Iceland trip was the best experience of my life. I not only went on a plane for the first time but I learnt about so much including different cultures, people living with volcanos and also geothermal energy. I also had the best company, could not of gone with anyone better. I will never forget the trip. Especially the man bus and Gunnar our tour guide! Takk takk