Reflections on Iceland

13th March 17

Abbey College Cambridge Iceland Trip

During half term a group of our students and teachers embarked on a four day trip to Iceland. Here are some of their reflections on the experience.

Bian Ruoyo (Michael) from China

Have you ever imaged the most beautiful landscape that was designed by the nature? It’s hard to describe how inconceivable it is, if you jut see it from the picture maybe you will doubt that it is true, is it created by the computer? Unfortunately you are wrong, everything in there is created by nature.

On the First day we went to be Blue Lagoon, which is the most famous hot spring in the Iceland. The weather was very cold in that day and it was also raining, I thought it would be very cold, but the water was much warm than I imaged. When you went under the water even the water it tasted just like brine and very salty. Then when saw the point where the continental shelves of Europe and America connect, you can go to America in one second if you want. It’s hard to image the power of nature, the voice of the waves beating the rocks day after day year after year.

The second day was an amazing day, we went to a active volcano and there was a family living just under the volcano. When it erupted the whole family left, but they returned just a few days later, cleaned the farm and continued their original life, someone asked them why they didn’t leave there and find other place to live, “It’s my home and it’s my life” they answered. Then we went to a waterfall. It was really amazing to look down the waterfall from the top of the mountain it’s really like something from ‘Jurassic Park’. Birds build their hideout in the cliff that around the waterfall and soar above the waterfall. After that we climbed an ice shelf covered by ash, then the most fantastic part of the trip, we walked behind the waterfall! Even if your clothes are waterproof you still get wet and cold, and although you felt very cold when water beat on your face and hands it’s really amazing to see the waterfall from the back of it. Wednesday was a busy day, we went out to hunt the northern lights. It wasn’t like what we saw in the internet, it was only a little bit green lights on the side of the firmament, but I have to say that I had never seen the plough as clear as in Iceland.

On the third day we went to plant of the national park, we saw the water pump out of the surface because of high pressure inside, which was amazing – plenty of white water vapour jetted out suddenly. For the last day we went into Reykjavik, the only city in Iceland which is very small and not like a capital in other countries like London. We went to the national museum and saw lots of things about Vikings, by the way our hotel and restaurant are also Viking style. Then we enjoyed lunch in the city center and walked along the harbour under snow-capped mountains in the distance.

All in all, you can see the great power of the creator and the nature but you can still see the persistence of humans. Both of them are fused together to the point, the beauty of nature and the adaptive capacity mix together without hurting each other, maybe it’s the tenet of human and nature.

Abbey College Cambridge Iceland Trip

Victoria Jumbei from Romania

It was a great experience seeing new things and meeting new people, but I guess you already found out how amazing it was. In this little paragraph I want to talk about the things you probably don’t know yet… Maybe some of you are wondering how it felt to visit such a different country for the first time?

Well, it is a wonderful experience, especially if you enjoy travelling. Iceland is one of the few countries in the world that wasn’t affected by globalization… Except for the capital, Reykjavik, everything else, on the little island, seems untouched. The country is famous for its waterfalls, glaciers and volcanoes.

We got to visit all of them, plus the amazing hot springs in the “Blue Lagoon”. We saw the “Gullfoss” waterfall, one of the most amazing waterfalls I’ve ever seen, together with “Seljalandsfoss” and the “Black Beach”, they made our trip unforgettable.

What made this trip completely unique were the Northern Lights, a special view not a lot of people get to see in their lifetime. It was quite tough, but without a doubt it was worth it!

Abbey College Cambridge Iceland Trip

Wang Meiyi (Milly) from China

Following the trail of the Atlantic current, at the middle of nowhere, we seemed to reach the edge of this world, surrounding by fierce wind and vast ocean. Iceland.

There, the changes of the seasons are slow, like a huge rolling-wheel of time that is covered by snow and ice. The coldness sculptured the Icelandic nature and men through the vicissitudes, giving them the special kind of stiffness and heaviness.

I was shocked by the miracles it has created when I learned about the old Viking culture, when I stood on the steep cliff hearing the roar of waves, saw the destructive volcano covered by colourful fields and silent clouds, accompanied by hardworking people, or when I saw the waistband of the polar light waving in the darkness shaping the frame of the sky.

Every scene there was hard to describe with words. It is separated from the outside world, without noise and rush, close to the breath of this planet, it reminded me about the great beauty of nature and encouraged me to go further. For the experiences I had will be truly fortune for my entire life.

Liam Woods (Head of Lower Sixth) with input from students

During half term 15 students departed for a very cold, wet and windy Iceland. It was very surreal landing at an almost empty airport. We learnt that Iceland is the second largest island in Europe and only has a population of 330,000. We arrived out our very traditional Icelandic hotel which was called ‘Hotel Viking’ and had the first evening to relax, acclimatise and prepare for four very busy days of Geographical and Geological based excursions around the island.

Day 1 – Reyjkanes planes tour and the Blue Lagoon

We woke up very early for breakfast and were surprised to see lots of different varieties of fish. Students and staff had fun trying this, some obviously did not enjoy it.

Today we were spoilt by our tour guide, Ziggy, with an incredible variety of experiences. We started with the Blue Lagoon where students had the choice of an early morning swim. We entered the murky lagoon water at 8am before sunrise and had the incredible experience of waiting for the sun to rise and reveal our surroundings. We realised that the surface of the lagoon is actually covered in a clay like substance that was being offered by people working at the site as a natural face mask. Feeling very refreshed we left to prepare for the Reyjkanes planes.

The Reyjkanes planes was very barren and in parts reminded us of landscapes only seen on films of other planets such as Mars. Our first stop was the ‘intercontinental bridge’ which is a bridge where the European and American plates meet. Our tour guide told us this is a popular place for people who are from the different continents to get married and that there are hundreds of earthquakes a year in Iceland which is a reason for there not being any trains on the island.

We also visited the rocky formations on the sea front which was an incredible vantage point over the south coast. Then we proceeded to hot springs which were incredibly smelly due to the Sulphur. It was a fantastic outlook and this was our first glimpse of how Iceland’s terrain can change within the space of 50m.

Day 2 – South Shore tour and the Northern Lights

Waterfalls and glaciers were the order of the day. We started by going to the volcano that erupted in 2010 to learn about the impacts of the ash on all of the locals and internationally on air travel. It was certainly imposing. We continued our tour to a 65m tall waterfall, the black sand beach and ended at another waterfall which we could actually walk behind. All put on our ponchos to try and keep as dry as possible…..this failed but it was certainly was incredible being so close to the power of the descending water.

After dinner we prepared ourselves for the night excursion to see the Northern Lights. Everyone gathered with warm clothing on and head torches. We all boarded the coach and Ziggy told us we would need to get to the darkest place possible outside of the city. We drove for 10 minutes before Ziggy parked up and tried to point out to us a thin band of green light. Lots of us were dubious as it quickly disappeared. However driving further into the wilderness we stopped again and there was lots of excitement as the green band reappeared and started to swirl. Ziggy explained this was not the most spectacular display by the lights but what an eye opener into this natural phenomenon.

Abbey College Cambridge Iceland Trip

Day 3 – Golden Circle tour

When we thought we couldn’t possibly be impressed any further Ziggy announced to us that this was the most popular excursion for tourists. Today started with the spectacular Gulfoss (Golden Falls) which amazed all with the sheer power and volume of water that could be felt even from way up above looking down.

We also visited the Geysirs which reminded us a lot of the hot springs on day 1 but all were surprised when one of the Geysirs erupted shooting water 20m into the air and landing on the crowds below. This is due to the extreme pressure that builds up in the capillaries of the Geysir underneath the ground. After another fun packed day we returned to our hotel for our last evening in Iceland and our final evening meal.

Day 4 – Reykjavik city tour and return home

Today we wanted to make the most of our final day before returning to the airport. We packed our cases and all boarded the bus to Reykjavik where our first stop was the Natural History museum. Students and staff enjoyed looking at the different Viking weapons and trying on the period dress. We walked via the parliament building and interesting cathedral building to the city centre. Reykjavik is a small city in comparison to what our students our used to but still enjoyed some free time sightseeing and souvenir shopping. We all met late afternoon to get to the airport in time for our flight exhausted and looking forward to returning home.

An incredible trip enjoyed by all! We look forward to offering lots more international trips in the future.

Click here to see more images from the trip to Iceland.

Abbey College Cambridge Iceland Trip