Monday 27th February 2017
After our epic snow ball fight, we had to do a little bit of waiting for the streets to be cleared. After all, this had been the most amount of snow Iceland had had in February in 50 years! Mrs D'Amore was eventually recovered from the snow drift and we had a little bit of chill out time. We headed into the city centre of Reykjavik, having a tour of the Harbour, where both the whale watching and whale hunting ships sat. We then visited Reykjavik's Volcano Hour where we watched a fascinating film about recent volcanic eruptions, including the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption which brought European air traffic to a standstill and caused widespread disruption. Unfortunately, some members of our party were a little tired from the snowball fight. Mrs Tipper's shoulder was a comfortable resting place for Alex S for the duration of the film and even Miss Coney, a geography enthusiast, was too weary to make it to the end still awake!
We wanted to make the most of this unusual weather - and what better way to do so than to spend the rest of the afternoon in a thermal outdoor pool, complete with jacuzzi, slides and water polo hoops. Everyone had an amazing time, playing and splashing around in the sun. The walk home was interesting, expertly navigated, as always, by our map expert Mr G. The snow was so deep on the pavements that even Mr G couldn't navigate through it. Therefore, everyone had to walk on the roads. Luckily, most cars were snowed in so it was very safe!
We had an excellent final dinner in the Hamburger Factory. This went down much better than the smoked lamb and egg sandwiches we were given at lunch! We then made our way on the coach to a very quiet spot outside of Reykjavik. On one side we had snow capped mountains, and on the other the lights of Reykjavik. Here, we waited in anticipation of seeing the elusive northern lights. Archie entertained us all with his knowledge of constellations, and the stars shone incredibly brightly, far from light pollution. It was a wonderful sight to behold. But unfortunately the northern lights were too elusive for us, though star gazing was a lovely way to spend our final evening.
For our final day in Iceland, we were heading to the blue lagoon. We packed up and departed from the hotel. Miss Forster was incredibly impressed with how tidy the boys in particular left their bedrooms! All beds were made and Will and Miska deserve a prize. Without our guide Martina, Miss Forster entertained the coach with some 'fun' geography anecdotes and observations of the landscape, as well as the occasional game of I Spy. With so much snowfall, the landscape really did look like a Winter Wonderland. We even glimpsed a glacier across the water! The Blue Lagoon was a real treat for the last day! Before long, the boys had found their way over to the smoothie bar, whilst the girls had loaded up on the natural mud face masks. Eneeka and Lucy were particularly taken with their new beauty regime. This also then rubbed off on some of the boys - before long, most boys also had their faces plastered in it. They enjoyed washing it off in the waterfall and visiting the saunas and steam rooms. Before long, it was home time. We had a quick lunch in the airport before all piling onto the plane, thoroughly exhausted. The British Airways crew were particularly impressed with our group and their exemplary behaviour.
All that's left to say is we hope that all pupils had a fantastic time. They were all a real joy to be with and represented the school fantastically, even when things didn't quite go to plan! We would like to say thank you to parents and carers for your support. It was a trip that we will always remember!
Miss Forster, Mr Giannino, Miss Coney, Mrs D'Amore and Mrs Tipper
Sunday 26th February 2017 am
NEWSFLASH: Snow blizzard hits Iceland!!
Year 10 engineers construct snow tunnel!
Mrs D'Amore faceplants into snowdrift - the search crews are still looking for her!
Miss Forster suffers snowball bruising, Tom H currently being questioned by Mr. G about his involvement!
Reports of the biggest snow ball fight in decades reach Reykjavik!
And we thought yesterday was an epic snow ball fight.
What a surprise this morning when we opened our curtains to more than half a metre of snow carpeting the roads and streets! All the roads were closed, so the tour was off the cards. Instead, we all headed outside to commence the Battle of Reykjavik, snow ball style. See photos below!
Saturday 25th February 2017 pm.
What a brilliant day! We kick started our morning by visiting the beautiful secret lagoon, which is a geothermal heated outdoor natural pool. It's surrounded by geysers and we had a lovely mixture of sun and snow as we swam about. On the journey there we passed stunning scenery: mountains, lava plateaus, beautiful lakes and rivers. Everywhere you look, you can see pockets of steam rising from the ground where they have used Iceland's geothermal energy for homes. We were told one man even had a geothermal pool in his garage! As well as our tour guide, Martina, Mr Giannino was on hand to provide information about the worlds biggest greenhouse - a very informative morning by all accounts!
We had a picnic in the snow for lunch in a magical setting. We then hopped back onto the bus for our afternoon's adventures. Mr Giannino had plenty more geographical anecdotes to keep us going as we made our way towards Gullfoss Waterfall. Although not the biggest waterfall in Iceland, it certainly was one of the most beautiful. We were all fascinated to hear from Miss Forster, who was very keen to tell us all about how waterfalls form from different rates of erosion of soft rock.Miss Forster has been very impressed by the extension knowledge and enthusiasm of our Year 10 Geographers!
Next stop was the Great Geyser, where huge jets of water up to 30 metres high shoot out of the ground. Water bubbled away in pools alongside the path at up to 100 degrees, despite the snow that was falling. We watched the Geyser erupt several times whilst trying to take some action shots! This really was a fantastic sight to behold!
Our final stop of the day was Pingvellir National Park, where we actually crossed the boundary between the Eurasian and North American Tectonic Plates. Huge rock cliffs faced us to our right, whilst a lake stretched out to our left. The plateau stretched as far as the eye could see, as rivers carved their way through it. It was stunning. Our day was rounded off by a lovely meal in Reykjavik and an epic snowball fight! Unfortunately the weather wasn't suitable for a northern lights tour this evening, but we have our fingers crossed for tomorrow!
Saturday 25th February 2017 am.
We've arrived in Iceland safe and well after a VERY long journey!
We glimpsed snow covered terrain from the plane, very barren and exposed. It looked a little like the surface of the moon.
Very strong winds in Iceland meant that we had a delay disembarking from the plane and then had a long delay in the airport waiting for our bags. All pupils were brilliant and a stranger commented on their fantastic attitude.
We arrived at our hotel at 7.30pm and got unpacked before heading out to dinner. Soho, salad and that traditional Icelandic dish of lasagna waited for 46 hungry travellers.
Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions, the northern lights were off last night but we are hoping for an opportunity to see them either tonight or tomorrow, fingers crossed.
We've feasted on waffles this morning and are ready to set off for our first day exploring Iceland and viewing the sites of the golden circle!
Let the adventure commence!