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Geography Iceland Trip Report

Published on isbi School News dated Tuesday 6th of December 2022

Monday 17th October
We set off nice and early at 1:30am to head to Luton Airport. After an eventful time checking our bags in, we went through security and got some breakfast (at last!). We finally boarded the plane for our three hour flight, where we managed to get some rest. Once we had arrived in Reykjavik and collected our bags, we met up with our amazing guide Dakki, who looked after us for the whole trip.

We were thankful that the first activity was a trip to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa. This was a relaxing stop and was a great opportunity for some pictures.

After the Blue Lagoon, we got on the bus, traveling towards Vik. This was going to be a long journey, as there are only five main roads in Iceland! Along the way we had many wonderful stops. Our first stop was at the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. The waterfall was very impressive and we were especially lucky to be able to walk behind it. The view was incredible, but we did get a bit soaked!

For our second waterfall of the day we visited the Skogar Waterfall, where some of the group climbed to the top and some stayed at the bottom, giving us very different views of the magnificent waterfall.

We then stopped at the Lava Center where we learnt about the different lava types and volcanoes across Iceland. After this we stopped off at the Solheimajokull Glacier where we were able to see a glacial lake and our guide told us about how the glacier had retreated. We were also able to see a medial moraine which linked in well with our A Level glaciation work

When we were closer to Vik we visited the Black Sand beach and were able to stand on the basalt columns to take a lovely group photo. We then headed to our hostel and went to the local restaurant for a delicious curry.

Tuesday 18th October
After a restful night’s sleep, we were ready to embark on the busy day ahead. We headed off to Skaftafell National Park, where you are able to see the highest mountain in Iceland, Hvannadalshnjúkur, and we took a picturesque walk with our tour guide commentary along the way. We had the opportunity to see the ‘Black Waterfall’, Svarrifoss, surrounded by basalt columns.

We then continued on the road to the next stop, Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, where we took a boat tour on the water. This lagoon was formed by melting ice from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and something we found very fascinating was the point where the freshwater lagoon met the salty sea water.

After a long day of travels, we returned back to the hostel where we enjoyed a pizza meal for dinner (yum!). In the evening we walked to the Vik Swimming Pool which had a variety of different temperature swimming pools. We had fun trying out the ice bath, especially Mr Hall and Mrs Packer who went in numerous times! On our way back, we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights before settling down for a good night’s sleep.

Amelia Kemp and Jess Mills

Wednesday 19th October
We were happy to have a small lie in, before getting up for our Golden Circle day. After a lovely breakfast of waffles and homemade jam, we packed our luggage onto the coach and headed towards Reykjavik.

Along the way we stopped off at Keri Crater, a volcanic crater lake along the Golden Circle. We had a nice walk around the top and bottom of the crater, and it was a good opportunity for photos.

Our next stop was Strokkur where we got to visit an active geothermal field with geysers. Most of us were lucky enough to catch the magnificent eruption on video, from a geyser that erupts every 8-15 minutes. We then headed off to Gullfoss Waterfall where we were able to see an incredible gorge, and some of us got hot chocolate. On the way back we passed Strokkur again and were lucky enough to see the geyser erupt three times in a row (our guide told us he had only seen this six times in his life!). We then had a 10 minute stop to feed some Icelandic horses; the teachers were not as impressed by the horses as we were.

After this we traveled to the plate boundary between the North American and the Eurasian plates. We were amazed to see the rift and the subplates within the rift. We were also very lucky to have the opportunity to walk between the two plates. We finished the day at our next hostel, where we had a lovely evening walk around Reykjavik.

After a night of activities we headed to bed for a much needed rest.

Thursday 20th October
We woke up raring to go on a sightseeing tour of the capital Reykjavik. We set off early with our tour guide, beginning at the Perlan Centre and then arriving at the Reykjavik City Hall. We also saw the Hallgrímskirkja Church, which had stunning architecture and a beautiful organ. We really enjoyed seeing the different architectural styles and the grand landmarks across the city. We then visited the Meradilar volcano site, which had lava that was only one year old, after an explosive eruption that covered the surrounding landscape last year. We were fascinated to see that there was still smoke coming out of part of the lava, as it was still in the cooling process. Krísuvíkon was our next stop which was a hot spring full of sulfur creating an unusual smell.

We then returned to the hostel where we had a very nice lasagne before visiting the Laugardalslaug Geothermal Baths where we enjoyed the 10 different temperature heated geothermal pools and water slides. On our way back from this we were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights for a second time and it was definitely a nice end to the trip.

Jemima R. and Jasmine Camderman

“It was a fantastic trip and incredible to see so much of what we have studied in the classroom brought to life particularly glaciation and plate tectonics. Seeing impressive glacial landscapes and features such as moraines has been really helpful to our understanding of scale and the impact of climate change. Walking between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates at Thingvellir was a truly wow moment! The Northern Lights were a particular highlight for the group on the last night– absolutely amazing!”

Mrs Andrea McKay, Head of Geography at Norwich High School for Girls
Geography Iceland Trip Report - Photo 1Geography Iceland Trip Report - Photo 2
Hazelwood School
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