Iceland 2017 - trip report
24 Year 11-13 students were given a fantastic opportunity in the first week of the Easter Holiday to experience Iceland in all its natural splendour. A lot of travelling was involved but this allowed the group to experience many of the fantastic natural wonders and rich cultural differences that the country has to offer including volcanoes and volcanic beaches, glaciers, waterfalls and even a continental fissure.
Several waterfalls were visited and it was even possible to walk behind one although it did result in people getting slightly (very) wet. On the theme of water, the group also visited the site of ‘Geysir’ – the hot spring that gave its name to all geysers.
The eruption of the volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, in 2010 disrupted European airspace for an entire week and the group were able to see the effects of the eruption first hand in terms of the scale of the damage it did to the surrounding farmland, roads, bridges and local community.
Part of the reason there are volcanoes in this part of the world is due to the continental fissure that the boys and girls can be seen standing in here (left). An extremely interesting geological structure, it is highly valuable for these pupils to see this for themselves and appreciate its true scale. Inevitably, there ensued multiple attempts at photographs, ‘holding up the bridge between the continents’.
Culturally, the trip included visits to museums as well as Reykjavík's Hallgrímskirkja church which is a major landmark in the city and an incredibly impressive building in its own right.
It houses an enormous organ and a statue of a man claimed to have reached the Americas 500 years before Columbus - Leifur Eiriksson (c. 970 – c. 1020).
Regarding accommodation, as imagined, there are large swathes of Iceland that are very sparsely populated and the group found this out particularly when they stayed at one of their hotels, Guesthouse Steig, quoted as being ‘literally in the middle of nowhere’: a far cry from the hustle and bustle of life on the fringes London.
“Our recent trip to Iceland in the Easter holidays was a huge success. The locations we visited were like nothing I had seen before in person. The moments that went with these, such as walking behind Selfoss waterfall and getting absolutely drenched, were just as memorable.
The smell was something to remember but not for the right reasons. I must thank the staff for arranging such a great trip and I hope this continues with the younger age group.”
“The Iceland trip was super cold but awesome. My favourite part of the trip was getting to walk behind a waterfall even though we all got soaked! Seeing the geysers was fun too. As was watching Mr Jones walk through the sulphur cloud...”
Anna and Lydia
Whilst providing a wealth of photographic opportunities, Iceland did not disappoint on the culinary side either as we tried a number of delicious meals (and snacks) the Icelandic way. We also paid a visit to a geothermally heated outdoor swimming pool where we adjusted to cultural norms before unwinding in up to 43-degree water. Whilst we all enjoyed learning about Iceland’s history, some of us also delved into the Icelandic language, discovering new and intriguing words every day. All in all, a very educational trip!
A massive thanks to Ms Darney, Mr Jones and Mrs Readings for organising and accompanying the trip as it is incredibly valuable for the students to see such striking aspects of the natural world in the flesh and experience new cultures.
The trip will be running again so keep an eye out for details over the next academic year within the Geography Department.