Iceland study tour blog

On Thursday 18th July 24 intrepid geographers depart for Iceland for a four night five day whirlwind tour of the south western part of the island. We will be visiting geysirs, waterfalls, volcanoes, swimming in geothermal pools and standing on the boundary of two tectonic plates.

Our aim is to try and provide a daily blog while we are out there. However, given the hectic nature of the trip and limited access to Wi-Fi please do not rely on this as a source of information and assume that no news is good news.
Updates will appear on this page.

Tuesday July 23rd

So, after a final evening of packing, swimming and table tennis we got up on Monday for a tour of Reykjavik before the flight home. Reykjavik, with a population of 120,000 people is probably the quietest capital city most of us have visited. While there, apart from the obligatory shopping along the rather civilised high street we also were able to view the Hofdi house where president Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev signed the treaty effectively ending the cold war in 1986. We said goodbye and thank you to Kjartan the coach driver with a rousing round of I love the flowers before entering the airport and departing for home.

It has been a great trip. We have done so much in such a short space of time, and we have memories that will last for ever. 

Thank you to the girls for being such pleasant and enthusiastic company, you made it very easy for us as staff. I hope that you enjoy the rest of your summer.

Sunday July 21st

Today was an action packed day of sightseeing around the Icelandic south coast. we began with an exhibition of a farm covered in ash in the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption displayed in the family's garage. After dozing on the sleep mobile we were fully awoken by the cold strong spray of the Seljalandsfoss waterfall where we walked to a viewpoint to look down over the steep fall to the plunge pool below. Led by Claudia's enthusiastic pursuit of a postcard worthy snap of a puffin on her mobile, the professional photographers of the group whipped their cameras out to capture the views of the black volcanic sand beach. We were awoken from our drowsiness again on the bumpy approach over the moraine deposited by the looming glacier. Here we stood with caution where we touched the thousands of years old ice and Alice captured more arty photos of the drips to compete with Jenny's 1200 photo record on the trip. We visited our second waterfall of the day where we could exploit the undercutting to walk along a ledge behind the rushing water. The day ended with a group singalong on the way home spurred on by Kjartan the coach driver and members of room 101.

Written by Sally, Flora and Emily

Saturday July 20th

Last night ended with an amusing session of round the world table tennis with Mr Brown just taking the first game. However, Flora J made an impressive comeback to give Mr B a run for his Krona!

After an early start this morning we headed for the ferry. The sea was choppy and the ride was rocky - not quite a standard Isle of Wight crossing. When we reached the volcanic island of Heimaey, Alice cracked a volcanic joke:

"What does a volcano say when it looks in the mirror?

"Heimaey" (hey me.....)

This joke made everyone erupt with 'lavater' (Izzy A and Flora B). We climbed Edlfell, which Mr B tried to persuade us was only the height of St Catherine's Hill. We put our hands on the warm volcanic rocks which made Claudia look as if her palms were stained with fake tan. After the challenging descent, where Ellie claimed "All I need right now is a greased baking tray", we then headed for the island's geothermally heated swimming pool. Gen had to flag down a passing car with swimming actions in order to get directions. Everyone enjoyed the three (wo)man flume, despite the chill of the biting Icelandic winds.

Later, in the Surtsey exhibition we learnt about the new island that emerged from the sea in 1963. We arrived back at the hotel where a delicious dinner was waiting for us followed by a quiz organised by the teachers. Congratulations to winners Emma, Yvonne and Hattie. Tomorrow we have another action packed day planned.

Written by the whole team.

Friday July 19th

After a light night we headed inland to Thingvellir National Park where we stood in no(wo)mans land in between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates and marvelled at the basalt lava flows and Oxarafoss waterfall.

The lower sixth slept as the coach passed through amazing landscapes en route to Geysir National Park. They were soon awoken as Strokkur erupted into life spraying us with warm steam and water. Many memory cards and batteries were used up anticipating the next event. We then went to Gullfoss (the golden waterfall) whic was a highlight.

We returned to the smell of cooking chicken via a supermarket having stocked up on snacks. The lower sixth are helping me write this as we supervise girls playing in the geothermally heated pool. We are very excited about a day on Heimay Island tomorrow which witnessed a major volcanic eruption in 1973.


Thursday July 18th

Gen and Lottie write:

We find ourselves in a somewhat colder climate this evening as temperatures drop to 9 degrees, we've definitely said goodbye to summer barbecues for now. Out flight was very comfortable and there was plenty of time for shopping and calling loved ones in Gatwick. We travelled from the airport in the rain to Gunnuhver Hot Springs which had a somewhat interesting smell. From here, we went to the blue lagoon where  used up a substantial amount of silicone face rub which we all used repeatedly.  We travelled to Hotel Ork where we unpacked, ate and were spurred on by Emily Sambrook Smith to go for a night time swim. 



Wednesday July 17th

A couple of thoughts:

- Remember a European travel adapter in order to be able to charge cameras, phones etc.

- A pen/pencil in your hand luggage to fill in forms/luggage tags etc.

See you tomorrow. any last minute queries email, or 07801215641


Tuesday July 16th

Only 2 days to go! I hope you are all getting excited. Just a few reminders:

-Please make sure you bring your passport and EHIC card.

-Please pack your swimming gear in your hand luggage. We will be visiting the blue lagoon on the way to the hotel.

-Please remember a packed lunch.

-We will be giving out an A4 ringbinder study pack in the morning, please leave a little space for this either in your main luggage or your hand luggage.

Remember that you are limited to 20kg of hold luggage. The weather in Iceland at the moment is distinctly chilly (around 10 to 12 degrees with rain forecast for most days), don't be fooled by the heatwave here and bring everything on the kit list including plenty of warm weather gear. Please meet at school at 0730 if you are coming by coach, or at 0945 by the WOW check in desk if you are meeting at the airport. If you have any questions, however trivial please contact me before we go.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday morning.


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