During the February half term 2016, 26 excited Friends pupils and three teachers travelled to Iceland on a geography trip.
The trip almost got off a disastrous start as one pupil went to the wrong airport! Fortunately, all made it safely onto the flight, just.
On arriving at the hotel in Reykjavik, the pupils were glad to be greeted by a buffet style dinner after a long day travelling, although some pupils weren’t too impressed by the lack of meat.
That night, they ventured out into the rain for a walk along the sea front, trying their best not to slip on the ice that covered most footpaths.
The next morning, the students met tour guide, Birnda (who kept them entertained all week with her traditional Icelandic stories), and piled onto the coach to travel to the Blue Lagoon.
It’s a man-made lagoon in the middle of a lava field, filled with geothermal water rich in silica and minerals, giving it a bright blue colour. This was a highly anticipated part of the trip and pupils spent a pleasant hour in the warm lagoon. It was a surreal experience to be in water at 37°C while all around, the land was covered in snow and the pupils made full use of the facilities, putting on the face masks.
The pupils then travelled back to Reykjavik to a viewing platform to see the whole city. Next, they visited The Volcano House and watched a documentary about the effects of volcanoes in Iceland.
On Wednesday, the group left the hotel at 9am for the Golden Circle tour. From the coach, they were treated to spectacular views of a snowy landscape dotted with rocky mountains and the occasional Icelandic horse.
They visited the breathtaking Gullfoss waterfall, with thousands of tons of icy water thundering down into a deep canyon. Another highlight of that day was the Stokkur geyser which erupts about every five minutes, shooting a gush of boiling water up into the sky. There were many sore arms as a result of trying to get a selfie as it erupted.
That night, the group got their only glimpse of the Northern Lights, with some so excited that they ran out into the snow in their bare feet.
On the last full day, the first stop was Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano which caused travel disruption due to ash throughout Europe in 2010. Next, the students visited Reynisfjara, a black sand beach with basalt columns at one end. Here the waves were so huge that there were police on duty making sure no one went too close to the sea.
The highlight of the trip, though, was getting to see and touch a glacier. This large mass of ice next to a frozen lagoon was simply spectacular.
It’s safe to say this was an unforgettable trip and pupils sent many thanks to Mr McKinley, Mrs Cregan and Mr Lonsdale.