Over Half Term, a group of intrepid Geographers headed off to Iceland for the adventure of a lifetime. Thank you so much to Sixth Form students James and Elizabeth for sharing their thoughts on the trip.
The tour began with an early start from Bloxham at 6.30am! Our flight departed Stansted airport at 11.35, and three hours later we landed at Keflavik in Iceland, where we met our amazing tour guide, Helen. We then set off to Reykjavik, where we went to Hotel Cabin and got settled in. That evening, we went for a swim at a hot spring where there were lots of different temperature baths; we had lots of fun going in and out of hot and cold. It was a lovely and relaxing end to the day.
On our second day, we did the Golden Circle tour. This started with us going to Hellosheidi Power Station, where we learnt about how Iceland uses mainly renewable energy sources such as geothermal energy. We then went to Kerid, a crater of an old volcano which has been dormant for around 3,000 years. After Kerid, we visited the Great Geysir, where we saw Strokkur which explodes around 25 meters into the air every 5-7 minutes. Next, we explored Gullfoss Waterfall, our first of many waterfall visits. It was an amazing site with double step layering. We ended our day trip at Thingvellir National Park, where we saw the meeting of two tectonic plates. Finally, we returned to the Hotel Cabin where we put on some warm clothes and had some food before going to see the Northern Lights. This was amazing as even though we could not see them with our own eyes, we could see them through our cameras.
On Day 3, we headed off to the Blue Lagoon for a morning of relaxation. There were some very surprising things we had to do at the Lagoon, like keeping conditioner in our hair so that it didn’t dry out due to the high silica content of the water. Next, we hopped onto the bus to go to Reykjanesbaer, the site of a split between two tectonic plates, which meant that you could walk in the earth. After this, we went to Gunnuhver hot spring, a place where hot water comes out the earth and reacts with the cold air, causing a lot of steam. Subsequently, we went to Sulphur City, where there was a range of geothermal springs which smelt like rotten eggs. After another short bus ride, we arrived at Reykjanesfolkvangur, a lake spanning as far as the eye could see. We then went back to Reykjavik to go to the Aurora Reykjavik, the northern lights museum which tells you all about how they are created in the earth. We finished our day with a lovely walk back to the hotel, via a quick pitstop at the supermarket to pick up some much needed snacks!
Day 4 was the waterfall day! We started off with a two hour journey to Skogafoss, which was incredible because of its sheer size, although we got soaked taking photos! After taking off our wet waterproofs, we headed to Reynishverfi, a black beach where we saw some amazing sneaker waves. We also saw stacks, stumps, arches, and the start of a cave. After the black beach we headed to Solheimajokull, the glacier tongue that lies south of the Myrdalsjokull Glacier. We walked to the viewpoint for a group photo, then made our way to Seljalandsfoss, where you can walk around the back of the waterfall. We did this in the evening at sunset, so the photos were amazing.
This was a day for buying souvenirs and whale watching. Whale watching came first with a walk down to the harbour followed by a three hour boat trip to try and see a whale (we never saw one, only a dolphin!) After this, we were allowed some free time to go and get some food, and then we grouped back together and went on a trip around Reykjavik to go and see the Hallgrimskirkja Church. We visited the local shops and markets to see what we could spend our left-over Korna on, before walking back to Hotel Cabin and packing our bags for an early start in the morning.
The earliest start by far – 2.30am! We left Hotel Cabin and made our way to the airport. We checked in our bags and then wearily trudged up onto the plane for the flight home, exhausted but exhilarated after such a fantastic trip.