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Bridging continents: Iceland 2019

We landed in Iceland at around midday, and could immediately see why it was called that way. From the plane, vast fields of snow and ice were littered with volcanoes and frozen lakes. Our first stop from the airport was the “Bridge over Continents”. Here, a bridge spanned one of the cracks between the Eurasian and North American plates – a good introduction to what lay ahead. For the rest of that day, we saw volcanic craters, hot springs and geothermal power stations all along the same 20km stretch of road!

After a good sleep at our first hotel, we headed off to Reykjavík, where we saw the place of the first Viking landing, the beautiful concert hall, and the old town. Afterwards we went to Perlan, a museum converted from the hot water tanks of Reykjavík. Here we made a much-enjoyed visit to a man-made ice cave, before heading off to a geothermal power station - the third largest in the world. After another visit to a hydroelectric power station, we headed to the first national park in Iceland, located in a fissure as a result of sea-floor spreading.

On the third day, we saw the very impressive Seljalandsfoss, a waterfall which we were able to walk behind. After that was a glacier, then a black sand beach with impressive columnar basalt, and finally a second waterfall, Skógarfoss.

The fourth day took us to the Secret Lagoon, a natural geothermal pool which was very hot. After some interesting river formations in freezing temperatures, we came to the waterfall Gullfoss, which was an enormous canyon filled with icy water. Following this was the geyser from which all others are named – Geysir. We saw a neigbouring geyser erupt twice, spitting water up to 20m high! Our final stop was a 1.3km long lava tube, with icicles growing upside down and others made of lava. After this it was time to head back to the hotel to enjoy the final night in the geothermally heated swimming pool and waterslide. Some people even saw the northern lights!

Before heading back, we visited a few more hot springs, and a lake with incredible views (and wind!). Then back to England for us. Iceland was an incredible country to visit, and all year round the scenes would change. We had ice and snow, but a few months later, all would be green. I think I can safely say that everyone who came on the trip had a great time and many would return again.

Pierre Gathy

DATE POSTED: 30 April 2019

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