Our day began earlier than most of us probably expected. With jet-lag tugging at our heels, most of us were awake by 5 am. This was not a problem as it gave everyone enough time to shower, and relax in the common room before breakfast at 7am. Our breakfasts consist of cereal, deli meats, cheese, bread, Nutella, yogurt, and fresh Icelandic vegetables. Once students had stuffed themselves, they packed their lunch to go, able to create their own sandwich accompanied by juice, apple and chocolate bar. Once we were packed, we hopped on our bus and headed northwest, to an area just above the capital, well known for its fjords.
At Hvalfjordur, we learned how the fjords were created, how to identify them, and appreciated the beautiful scenery the glaciers left behind for us. We continued on to Delidartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring, which releases 180 l/s of 100°C hot water.
We learned how Iceland is harnessing this natural energy to provide central heating for many towns. Here, we took a break and had a picnic by the spring. The temperature began to fall and wind picked up as we made our way to our next sight, the gorgeous waterfalls of Hraunafoss.
Here the water is not flowing over rocks, rather jutting out below the top soil between layers of hardened lava flows. We could easily see the powerful force of nature looking down into the river nearby as it crashed and tore it’s way through rocks cascading it’s way to the foot of the waterfall. Shivering our way back to the bus, we departed for Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of the most important sites in Iceland both historically and geographically.
Here we could see the European and North American plates pulling apart creating a huge rift. Historically, the site is important as it is the site of the world’s first Parliament, where tribes would meet once a year to discuss and settles issues. The wind, temperature, and light rain literally brought us closer together as we walked through the rift between the two Continents.
From the National Park we made our way back to Selfoss, where students had a chance to warm up in the outdoor heated pool. After about an hour of swim time, we headed back to our guest house for an Icelandic fish and potato dinner. After we stuffed ourselves once more, students had some free time before heading to bed eagerly awaiting the next morning where we would be spending the day in the Super Jeeps.