Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Last Day

The day began with the task of self raising for breakfast downstairs, as it is the last day of the trip most of the teachers abolished the 8am breakfast law and instead introduced a one time sleep in offer which most of the students happily accepted with no complaints. When entering the now familiar dining hall the students adopted their subconscious breakfast routine along the salad bar and past the hot water and coffee machine. I proceeded to do my personal breakfast routine that included the making of a cup of tea and also the making of a cereal that I have become accustomed to during my stay here.  I then proceeded to collect and move to our allocated table.  After a swift rejection of a trip to a Geology museum we proceeded to split the group into little squads consisting of the year 10’s, year 11’s, sixth formers and teachers into their respective 2-3 room groups. After a short and funny time on the Wi-Fi we then proceeded to finish packing and move our luggage into the basement to which we then walked across the road as a cohesive unit into the Nesti/Subway. After having a 12 inch in my mouth with free refills and a cookie we then returned to the hotel and settled down in the lobby in which Dominoes pizza consumption took place the night before, this time paid for by the sixth formers who ordered their own.

When the time came to finally leave this luxurious 3 star hotel, we packed the bus and took our seats and said goodbye to Iceland. Us English love our weather and especially our beds which tipped the mood of the majority towards looking forward to the return to the great shores of Britannia or something patriotic like that, to be honest I miss my dog.  

We queued for our 2 hour and 28 minute flight from Keflavik to London Heathrow on a new plane with a glass roof that simulates the Northern Lights. The flight was smooth and quick. At the other end we continued to progress through the passport control, towards a long and boring wait for luggage recovery . After we all collected the luggage we proceeded to move towards the exit in which there was another well designed gift shop in the pathway but when we arrived in the lobby we were welcomed by no one.  We waited about 15 minutes for our coach and it was then no-stop back to Liverpool.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Day 4- 16th Feb '15

Got up in the morning and had some cereal, cant comment on everyone else’s breakfast but mine was fine. Even with the small cups for tea and such it is still or maybe even more satisfying than say a cup of tea in the morning in the UK. Anyway we shall now begin to talk more about what we got up to compared to what I got up to, after the rerouting of our beloved John from the south on Saturday evening it was the second day of the lovely Brenda. She will never be John. Anyway the day began with a departure time of 9:00 with the destination being a lake in the mountains completely covered in wonderful snow.

After a ferocious snowball fight with many casualties the flag of surrender was reluctantly raised by the teachers with the tenacious and brutal tactics of the students getting the better of the wisdom of their elders. We then returned to the nice, warm bus when the driver actually spoke to me and told me to get the snow off my shoes. This surprised me as the driver had been mute for the most part of the entire trip in the general so when he actually spoke to me I was surprised.
 The view from the mountains was absolutely stunning however the snowball fights in motion deterred the students from admiring the beauty and power of mother nature or in this part of the world the power of Oden or Thor if you believe in Norse Mythology like most Icelander’s. I liked the Thor films but believing in Norse mythology in my eyes seems a bit strange when you think about it. I suppose they might see Christianity in a weird way like we do with their beliefs but I respect their views as they respect mine.
After a short drive towards the coast we arrived at famous sulphur pits with a rather long and strange name but I will always remember them by the sheer stench than came from them. The smell was so bad that one kid actually had to run ahead of everyone else as he was going to vomit, personally I just breathed in and out of my mouth throughout the whole stop but the smell still managed to lodge itself into my brain for the rest of my time on earth. Personally I have actually smelt worse but that is another story for another time.

After a short toilet break at one of the tour guides friends restaurants we began our trip towards one of the most famous and influential hot spring in Iceland which actually powers nearby geothermal power plant, the country is full of these power plants which are sometimes controlled electronically by someone in say a nearby town or city. This didn’t smell as bad up close as the sulphur pits however it was extremely steamy which created rather strange weather conditions in the form of snow and wind which surely affected the tourists whereas Brenda could have been wearing a t-shirt and shorts and still wouldn’t have been bothered.
We where then back into the coach and once again travelled around the Reykjavik peninsula until we eventually reached a snowy Cliffside overlooking the ferocious tidal waves from the harsh Icelandic sea where apparently a man once swam 5km through after his fishing boat collapsed and he was forced to swim to shore, this man was special however as he actually had a similar skin thickness to that of a seal which allowed him to survive for so long. Looking at the waves makes the story feel more like a fable or folklore however this man supposedly still lives on the island. We actually stopped at this Cliffside and opened up the brown box of love containing the infamous ham and cheese sandwiches with a for of chocolate called a princes polo and a banana, I actually took the cheese off my sandwich as it was absolutely disgusting but the ham was nice so I had to do something to make it taste nice.

After the Cliffside we then headed to the famous Blue Lagoon which was our main destination at the beginning of the trip and it didn’t disappoint, the worst parts of the blue lagoon was the journey from the locker room to the water which included a walk down stairs to a door which then opened to a snow filled walkway which lead us straight into the water. The water was around 38-40 degrees in parts and was absolutely lovely and therapeutic with lots of boxes surrounding the pool filled with silica that is good for the skin even though it feels weird to put on, it was actually snowing heavily which caused a few people to have frozen hair. The water in the blue lagoon is actually seawater which kept going into my mouth making it extremely salty and weird however it made the experience memorable and is certainly something I will never forget and I think I can speak for the majority of the group in saying that. After a quick stroll through the expensive but well designed gift shop exit route we then headed again towards the coach along the now frozen walkway we ended our tour of the Reykjavik peninsula and in fact the last tour that we will have in Iceland.

Our last night was filled with a game of bowls in which Miss Gallagher won hands down with a score double that of the person in second place. I think it was fair to say that Kelly was the worst player by a country mile. We ordered our last dominos before bed and were promised a lay in on the last day.

Ronan and Dylan

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Our trip to Iceland-day 1

After a 2 and a half hour flight, we arrived at Keflavik Airport. We got through security without any problems, (except for being asked had anyone brought a fish?) and went off in search of our tour guide. We located him after a bit of confusion and boarded the coach to travel to our hotel.

After taking in the sights from our excursion around Reykjavík, we arrived at our hotel. The size of the rooms did shock us at first, as they’re quite literally no bigger than a postage stamp. However we decided not to care and 20 minutes later we were off to the local pool.

This was definitely the highlight of the first day. Even though it wasn’t pleasant having to get changed in the freezing conditions, the pools and hot tubs compensated for the icy temperatures. Some of the hot tubs were even too hot to get into!Around 7pm we got back to the hotel, quickly had something to eat and went upstairs to wrap up for another outing around Reykjavík. It was definitely hitting sub-zero temperatures at this point, so scarfs, hats and gloves were a must.
A Friday night in Reykjavík was a lot quieter to one in Liverpool. We only spotted a few people on the way, and when we reached an open stretch of land there was only one thing to do…snow ball fight! Miss Kwasnicki rose to the challenge of course, and at one point was chasing someone around in revenge. 

We spent around 2 hours walking around the capital of Iceland, seeing the magnificent cathedral on the way. By this point though, it’s fair to say we were all becoming, tired, cold and irritable so it was agreed we would make our way back to the hotel.

All in all it was a long, tiring but interesting day and we are excited to explore the rest of the island of Iceland!

By Danielle Culpon and Ellie Macca.

Iceland Day 3- 15th Feb '15

Usual breakfast at 7.30am then I went up stairs and attempted to open my door to get my packed bag for todays adventures, but it was at this moment I realised I did not have possession of my room key my heart raced as my life flashed before me but then I found it in my back pocket. We got on the coach and went off onto the southern coast of Iceland to view the waterfalls and the black beaches and glaciers. 

We had a different tour guide as John was replaced for ‘Brenda’ but same coach, where the water was leaking so during our journey we had to stop once again and refill the water. When this was resolved we took off again and ‘Brenda’ began to tell Icelandic folklore of marsh mellows and the trolls.

We arrived at the waterfall Seljalandfoss that was surrounded by ice so it was a hard task to get behind the waterfall. As we made the journey from front to back we started to slide all over the place and Ronan Shiers a member of the A-Level group slowly made his descent to the chilling ground. He got up and we continued our way down the edge of the area, which space was created due to the undercutting of the waterfall.

As we reached the back of the waterfall we was covered in water from the waterfall spray, which left most us drenched.  Then we had the task of getting around the over side, which was at an incline and contained several boulders. We managed to reach to the top and went down the stairs back to the coach and moved on to the next area.

We reached the black shores of Dyrholaey, with the huge rocky headland with birds soaring across the high cliffs being a spectacular sight. We left the coach and made our way across the beach, with the powerful waves having much of the attention.

As we reached the edge of the sea, the water became more and more volatile, and out of no were, the waves consumed half of the beach. Many people got caught in the wave, making half of the pupils soaked through.

The story behind the 66-meter high cliffs was a legend called Reynisdrangar rocks, where two trolls tried to drag a three-masted ship to land, and when daylight came, they froze and turned to stone. We saw the ‘evidence’ of this on the side of the cliffs, having the remains of the trolls being lodged into the rock.

Next we went to a glacier, but could not get too close because of poisonous gases from the volcano underneath. We took a trek up as far as we could go and got to
see amazing views and take photographs.

The final stop of the day was another waterfall for a quick photo stop before getting back on the coach for the two and a half hour drive back into Reykjavik for dinner at the hotel. On the way home it started snowing again very heavily and made for perfect conditions for another snowball fight on the way to the swimming baths.

Charlie, Aaron and Jess.