Isabella Groenevik, one of my grade 12th Biology students, wrote a wonderful summary of our day for the school blog; it was a day of sightseeing before we got to the camp where we will be working. I want to share it with you. Thanks Isabella!!
“Spending the night on paper thin mattresses in a freezing cold room did not make waking up at 7 o’clock easy. However we were all so eager to embark on our journey that we quickly forgot about how we couldn’t feel our toes (and this was indoors). After a comforting breakfast of Icelandic yoghurt and chocolate milk we were more or less ready to depart. We finally got into our groups and jumped into the SEEDs vans. Our first stop on the golden circle tour was the tectonic rift valley at Thingvellir National Park. It was constant battle between wanting to keep your hands warm in your pocket and wanting to take pictures of the impressive landscape. Even the view from the toilets was breathtaking. Our second stop was the Gullfoss waterfall – translated as the “Golden falls”. Walking towards Europe’s largest waterfall, we could hear its roar and see it spraying violent clouds of water above the hills. However it was only until we witnessed this phenomenon that we could get an idea of the powers of Mother Nature. We were allowed to walk surprisingly close to the waterfall where we could set up our tripods and capture once in a lifetime footage. This area proved to be a little intimidating for the elves, as we still saw none.
The SEEDs vans were now on their way to the third stop of the tour – the hot spring geothermal active valley of Haukadalur. This was definitely something out of the ordinary and unlike anything we have ever seen before. Walking on ground that steamed, bubbled and spat hot water was unexpected. It was especially unexpected when water erupted 10 meters above the ground right in front of you. Can you believe that this happens naturally? Amazing! We then embarked on a 2+ hour bumpy journey towards Thorsmork. This van ride will be equally as memorable as any of the natural attractions we saw today. The turbulence had us jumping out of our seats and laughing at how surreal it all was. We could hear the wind whistling outside and could barely see out of the foggy windows however once we could catch a glimpse of the outside we realized we were definitely not going home soon. We were in the middle of nowhere. A few elf houses were seen on our journey however the elves are perhaps still a little shy; maybe they will warm up by the end of the week. Which, looking at the weather forecast, seems unlikely.
We were all excited to finally make it to our accommodations and get settled in our lodge. We spread out between the sauna, showers and swimming pool and relaxed before our welcoming dinner. There is certainly a pleasant and cozy atmosphere and we can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!”