Early on Thursday 4 February, 16 tired Year 10 and 11 Geographers and three very excited members of staff departed HBAED for Gatwick Airport ready for an adventure to Iceland.
Iceland lived up to its name when we arrived in a snowstorm and saw a vast landscape of white from the plane window. Our first stop was The Blue Lagoon which many of the boys chose as their most memorable activity - it was indeed memorable to see them sat in the thermal waters with mud masks on their faces enjoying the atmosphere! We spent our first night in Reykjavik ready for a big day of geographical adventure in day two.
Day two was a busy day which started off with a trip to an earthquake simulator - an opportunity for the boys to experience the magnitude 6.6 earthquake that had struck the town in 2010. The day provided the boys with an amazing insight into waterfall formation and their erosive power and gave us many fantastic photo opportunities visiting three different waterfalls throughout the day.
Next stop on day two was to the Black Sand Beach (see picture bottom right) where we looked on in awe at the power of the ocean, with nothing in between us the ocean and Antarctica at one point we were able to appreciate the strength of the waves that land on Iceland’s southern shores (from a safe distance!!). Here we were able to find out about the formation of caves, stacks, stumps, arches and the famous basalt columns.
Our evening was spent in a lovely hotel in the middle of nowhere and after a hearty evening meal and a mass snowball fight everyone slept very well after the days many activities and adventures.
Day three started with a drive over to the Golden Circle and first stop was Gullfoss Waterfall - an incredibly impressive waterfall with a double drop and a mile long gorge that had been carved out of the landscape by the powerful river. This is Iceland’s most photographed waterfall and we could see why - especially with most of it being frozen over when we visited it was truly breathtaking. Pictured: Jorge & Yannick showing us the gorge at Gullfoss Waterfall.
Next we were off to possibly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, visiting Iceland’s famous Geysir (one of only three countries where you can see an erupting Geysir). Strokkur erupts around every 15 minutes and it can reach up to 30metres high. The staff enjoyed trying to get the boys to pose and wait for 10 minutes ready for a photo of the group next to the spouting Geysir - not so successful results shown here (main picture).
After warming up on the coach we then visited Thingvillir National Park - possibly another once-in-a-lifetime experience, where we walked between two tectonic plates and witnessed the effects of the North American and Eurasian Plates moving 2cm apart each year.
Miss Wood was incredibly excited about where we were and had a lot of fun pointing out all the geographical features in front of them - some things need to be seen outside of a text book to be believed. After experiencing this quite spectacular place we headed off on the coach back to Reykjavik for a very good pizza meal and again a good night’s sleep.
It was with sadness that we packed up on Sunday morning ready to head back to the airport for our flight home - but not before we experienced some more of what Iceland has to offer. First stop was walking tour around Reykaivc - guided by our very own Mr Walsh. We experienced the impressive Cathedral (design inspired by the basalt columns on Black Sand Beach) and the architecturally stunning festival hall finally stopping off at the harbour for a hot chocolate kindly provided by Miss Lukic, which was needed.
We then boarded the coach to visit the bridge between continents (Miss Wood again getting very excited about the geographical importance of where we were) and posed for more photos. Last stop before our flight home was a geothermally active area with bubbling mud pools, steaming vents and a strong smell of sulphur. This highlighted how Iceland’s location enables it to generate 98% of its energy from renewable sources - an impressive feat. After a short delay we were sadly on board the plane heading back to HBAED.
The boys’ behaviour and attitude throughout the whole trip was fantastic and they were a credit to the academy. Our Icelandic guide was full of praise for the amount of questions they had to ask and their attentiveness throughout the trip. Thank you to all those people who made the trip possible and such as success - it really was a wonderful experience for all involved.