Iceland, what a place! It definitely lives up to its name in the sense that it is just ‘a little’ cold. I don’t think it is possible to describe this land in one word, more a range of words like fascinating, extraordinary and of course geographical, would fit. Definitely a place you should have on your bucket list.
Landing into Reykjavík Airport we were eager to explore the area after our naps on the coach and plane. As Mr Needham led this trip and is passionate about swimming, it was only natural that first stop was Laugardalslaug (an Icelandic swimming pool). You might be thinking that in Iceland the pools would be indoors, but no, they were outdoors! Luckily, they were heated and there was a lovely hot tub to relax in (which we all managed to squeeze into).
On our first full day in Iceland, we woke up when it was still dark and that made us even more sleepy but with some bacon and croissants for breakfast, we were all ready to go. The aromatic spiciness gave us a warm welcome at the hot springs and ‘Panda’ - the dog was a big hit. Next came the Lava Fields and they were amazing, flowing straight out of the rocks across a vast distance. A trip to Langjökull (name of an ice cap) followed. A ride in a ‘monster truck’ and bundled up in five layers of clothing we ready to explore the ice cave, but as soon as we were out of the truck it was a though, we had been put into a freezer! There was no telling the difference between the sky and the ground, it was all completely white. Inside the ice cave, we saw some incredible layering that was caused by volcanoes, the change in colour of the ice as we went deeper was very enthralling. The day ended with another dip in the hot tubs (this was after-dinner).
Our visit to Thingvellir on day 3 was incredible because we saw evidence of a constructive plate boundary. Our next stop was the Geysir’s (hot springs) where we had the chance to see Strokkur erupt. Then we had time to fit some more swimming before going to Reynisfjara Beach (a black sand beach), which had massively fatal waves and a basalt sea stack which for us, was a very unique sight.
Day four was an early start as we drove through about 40km of ongoing lava fields on our way to a glacial lagoon called Svinafellsjökull. We then went on to see another lagoon (glacier), called Jökulsarlon, the views here were again astonishing. After a brief visit to another black sand beach we had the chance to go for a walk and get a panoramic view of the mountains and the flat land where the lava flows during a volcanic eruption.
Our last full day can be summarised in one word DRENCHED!
We started with a glacial walk which was remarkable even though it was a miserable day with grey clouds and rain. The whole day was made far more memorable by the fact that we were all dripping wet and our feet were swimming in our shoes. There was a chance to get even more soaked (not sure it was possible), by getting showered by the spray off the waterfall (definitely worth it!). A few of us walked up around 400 steps to receive a very rewarding view of the waterfall from above. Finally, before starting to dry off we went to another waterfall and got to experience walking behind it to get a different but beautiful view. Once dry we headed to our last stop which was a geothermal plant. Ewe hung everything up to dry on the radiators at our hotel. Some of us went on to swim before a well-deserved dinner at ‘The Hamburger Factory’ which we were all super excited about.
Our final day and at last, we got a much-needed lie in. All packed and ready to go we headed to the Blue Lagoon for one final swim and the chance to put on some face masks before heading to the airport and back home!
This has been an extraordinary trip. Huge credit goes to all the teachers who coped with us; Mr Hutsby, Miss Parker (thank you for not losing our passports) and for taking care of us and of course Mr Needham for being brave enough to organise it. You all made this trip such an amazing experience and we are all so lucky to have had the opportunity to experience such amazing sights and landmarks. A gigantic thank you to all of you for giving up your time to give us this amazing opportunity. It was Ice-some!
By Banita Dodhia