Students from Years 9-11 had a once in a lifetime trip to Iceland over the Easter holidays. Students were treated to waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, lava, hot pools and ice cream! Three days jam-packed with sightseeing were well-received by all. Sunday's early start did nothing to dampen spirits and students landed in Iceland to be transported to the Bridge between the Continents followed by the Reykanes Lighthouse.
We then encountered the delightful (and soon very familiar) sulphuric smell of Gunnhuver's hot springs and geysirs, learning all the while about the sustainability of this beautiful country. After a Pizza pitstop and a drone fly-by at the fissure lake, we visited the Krysuvik Mud puddles and then went to Mariuhellar lava tubes before the fantastic Perlan look-out topped off an awesome day one. At the hotel students found themselves immersed in the Viking experience.
Day two dawned bright and early and our wonderful guide, Isabel, treated us to commentary about the creation of the landscape and taught us some Icelandic before we arrived at the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall (foss means waterfall). Students (and staff) were delighted to be able to climb up and go behind the falls before heading off to the Reynishverfi Beach. This is a black volcanic beach with impressive basalt columns for cliffs; students had great fun on the beach before being beaten by the wind whipping the lava fragments up. A quick souvenir shop at Vik (vik means coastal settlement) and then onto another amazing landscape in the shape of the Solheimajokull Glacier. This is in the shadow of Eyjafjallajokull volcano and it was pretty special to be beside somewhere that we have all been studying. After climbing the 378 steps of the Skogafoss Waterfall, students were able to play in the rainbows at the base leading to lots of laughter and big smiles all around. Day two finished up in the Lava Centre which allowed students to get interactive and where the floor really was lava!
An evening swim in the local geothermally heated pool and off to bed ready for the fun of Day 3.
Day three was the Golden Circle day which is the route most used by tourists. The day dawned beautiful again and all set off for the Secret Lagoon. After an hour long dip in the spring fed pool, students were able to see the geysir that fed it before a quick journey to the truly awe-inspiring Gulfoss (Golden Falls). The wind coming off the glacier lowered temperatures but not spirits and students were reticent in leaving this beauty spot for the Geysir Thermal Area, home of the original Geysir. We got to see the blue bubble as the geysirs erupted (and got quite wet!). More souvenir shopping was followed by the ice-cream farm, where we all tucked into ice-cream whilst the cows (in which it came from) watched us! Our final stop was the impressive Thingvellir National Park. Here we stood on the North American plate boundary, as well as learning about the seat of democracy and the talks to end the Cold War. Students got up close and personal with some small fissures before the coach to the hotel.
All who met our students, from flight attendants to our coach driver Olaf and our guide Isabel and the hotel staff commented on their politeness and positive attitudes. They were a real credit to us and worked and played very hard on an exhausting but exhilarating visit. Our thanks to the staff who planned and accompanied the trip.