This summer, members from the Rayburn Education team were lucky enough to visit Iceland on an inspection visit to gain more insight and knowledge on our excursions, accommodation and more.
Educational Tour Co-ordinator, Natalia, gives us the low down on the group’s visit, jam-packed with excursions, cultural visits and glorious food!
Day 1 – Wednesday 16th August 2017
We arrived early in the afternoon to be met by lovely warm weather and sunshine. Yes, it happens sometimes in Iceland too!
Our first stop was the Perlan building in Reykjavik with its new exhibition and ice cave. It’s not complete yet as it’s currently planning the two new rooms that’ll be opening; first in September and second in spring 2018.
We won’t disclose all the details about these new exhibitions, but we can assure you it is going to make the Perlan even more interactive and exciting!
At the moment, the Perlan offers a walk through an ice cave where the temperature is around -10 degrees Celsius. A truly memorable Icelandic experience like no other. But don’t worry, warm vests are provided before you enter! There’s also an interactive and informative exhibition about glaciers which will keep you entertained and educated for the afternoon.
Later that afternoon we spent some time walking around the quaint little streets of Reykjavik and taking in the breath-taking views. Our Geography expert, Cath, who has been to Iceland more times than she bears to count, told us a few traditional Icelandic stories about the helpful elves of this volcanic island.
She even showed us one of their elf ‘houses’. From this moment on we knew where not to step in order to avoid upsetting these creatures of the hidden world!
The next visit on our busy itinerary was the town of Hveragerdi and the beautiful Stone and Mineral Museum, which has been running for generations by a family of passionate and engaging geologists. The present owner is extremely inspiring. He can talk forever about stones, rocks, crystals – you name it! His passion is contagious!
We all arrived not knowing much about stones and minerals. In honesty, we were all secretly thinking that it would be a pretty boring experience. We were so wrong.
We left totally mesmerized by the whole event and for the next few days in Iceland, truly feeling like budding new geologists, we paid attention to any and every stone we came across, hoping to find that special gem like the ones we learned about at the Hveragerdi Museum.
We finished our day with a traditional Icelandic meal at the Skyr Factory and headed towards Selfoss to check in (and rest!).
Day 2 – Thursday 17th August 2017
Today began with a hearty breakfast at the Selfoss Hostel. Our host, Agnieszka, baked fresh Icelandic bread and mouth-watering waffles. And who’d have guessed the fruit in Iceland would be so fresh?!
The sun was shining and everyone was in good spirits today, ready to discover Icelandic wonders. Our first stop was Thingvellir National Park. We spent over an hour here in an attempt to appreciate the beauty and magnificence of a place moulded and created by the shifting tectonic plates.
On the way back from Thingvellir National Park, we stopped at Efsti-dalur Ice Cream Farm for lunch. This is a stunning little gem where you get the proper countryside experience! Mouth-watering food, gorgeous views, delicious ice cream and very happy cows! We found a couple of curious dogs to sit with outside too whilst we breathed in the cold fresh air!
Later that day we visited Gluggafoss Waterfall and Geysir Geothermal Area. Both of which were awe-inspiring! Strong sun and cloudless skies enhanced the whole experience for us, which is quite rare for Iceland. A magnificent rainbow bowed across the waterfall, which was the absolute cherry on top. We couldn’t put our cameras down.
On our way to the Tomato Green House, Friðheimar, we stopped at a less popular but equally stunning waterfall, Faxafoss. Completely devoid of all tourists, this was a deserted, peaceful and breathtaking place. It’s one of those places where you connect with nature and feel, in many ways, an inseparable part of it. We had to pull one of our colleagues back in the car as he completely lost all sense of time whilst contemplating and connecting with the beauty in front of him.
The technology and innovation involved in the production of fruit and vegetables here is at an incredibly high standard. This place was really impressive. We didn’t have time to taste their famed and celebrated tomato soup with bread, but just smelling those naturally grown tomatoes gave no doubts that it must be delicious.
Our last stop today was the Secret Lagoon. A beautiful diamond in the rough, this lagoon is surrounded by peaceful Icelandic countryside. It became quite popular over the last couple of years and is not so secret anymore, but this is still a must-see whilst in Iceland. These natural wonders are few and far between! Regrettably, we didn’t have time to swim and had to head back to Selfoss.
We finished up the day in true Iceland style eating famous Icelandic hot-dogs by the river and admiring the sunset.