Geography Trip To Iceland

Monday 27th April 2015

Over the Easter break, U5 and L6 Geography students participated in a Geography trip to Iceland. Below, Mrs Imogen Robson-Hemmings, Head of Geography, provides us with an overview of the trip:

“We set off early for the airport on Wednesday 15 April. The girls were all excited and happy to be going at last. Despite the M4 being closed we made it to Heathrow on time and checked in. We then had an hour or so to wait and everyone enjoyed the airport shopping! (and food). The flight set off on time and we were entertained by the Icelandic facts on the back of our seats, 60% of Icelanders believe in elves…. Apparently.

As we approached Iceland we flew along the south coast and had a fantastic view of glaciers, braided river channels and the flat coastal plain. On landing the girls were surprised by just how cold it was. Although it was about 5 degrees, the wind chill made it feel even colder. We met our guide and bus driver at the airport. Our first stop was the official home of the President of Iceland with its view across the bay to Reykjavik. We then went into the city to one of its highest buildings where we climbed to the roof terrace for a view across the city. By this time everyone was very hungry so we were glad to visit the café and spend some of our Icelandic Krone. Everything was very expensive!

We then went to our hotel for dinner. After dinner we travelled into the city again to visit the local geothermal swimming pool. Those who went in all agreed that it was a fantastic experience, although the sulphurous smell was a little over powering at times. The water was hot and we lay in the steaming pools as darkness fell.

On Thursday we had an early start, first to the city again to look at a huge 3D map of Iceland and then out towards the rift valley.  This is the place where the North American Plate meets the Eurasian Plate. As the plates have pulled apart a valley has been formed, in the valley is a large lake. A wonderful waterfall brings water off the North American Plate into the rift. On an island in the lake is the location of the first Icelandic Parliament. The oldest democratic parliament in the world.

From there we drove to Geysir to watch the boiling water shoot out from the bubbling geysirs, the girls loved it and were keen to watch them over and over again (until they got cold!). We had a welcome hot drink before moving on to one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, Gulfoss.

From Gulfoss we travelled to our accommodation for the next two nights via a couple more waterfalls!

By now we were near the south coast of Iceland and in a quite remote area, not many people and few shops and services. But at the hostel there was a trampoline and hot tub, which the girls made good use of!  

Friday was spent visiting the Eyjafjallajokull glacier which sits on top of the volcano. To reach the glacier we walked across fields of ash from the 2010 eruption. The glacier is embedded with ash which has been blown on to it since the eruption. Below the glacier is a lagoon full of icebergs. We then went to the Icelandic folk museum to look at relics from as long ago as 1100, when Iceland was first colonised by the Vikings. We saw old houses which were built into the hills. Amazingly people lived in them until the 1970’s!

In the afternoon we went to The Black Beach where amazing basalt columns have formed a cave and other rock formations. Our last stop of the day was at the wonderful waterfalls at Seljalandfoss, one has to be accessed through a cave and the other has a path behind it. We got very wet but everyone agreed that these two waterfalls were worth waiting for.

Saturday was our last day, and Catherine Gass’s birthday so we started with cake. The highlight of the trip was yet to come, The Blue Lagoon. As it is near the airport we set off early to get there and arrived, with much anticipation, at 10.30am.  This gave us a good 2 hours to enjoy this geo-thermal spa, complete with natural mud to make us all look younger! It was quite cold and windy by this time so we were happy to swim around in the hot water for hours.

We ate lunch on the way to the airport and then spent our final Krone before we boarded the plane. It was a great trip which I am sure the girls will remember fondly.”

Please find below for a slideshow of photographs from the Iceland trip:

Created with flickr slideshow.