31st January 2011

Iceland - the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ is becoming increasing popular for our school trips and college groups, so it was about time we paid a fresh visit.

On leaving Manchester airport on a cold January morning, we arrived at the amazing Keflavik airport near the capital city Reykjavik, to a surprisingly mild 9 degrees. We ventured straight to the surreal Blue Lagoon spa. As we drove down the dark, bumpy and steamy road that leads to the lagoon, it felt like we had landed on the moon. Walking through volcanic landscape takes you to the Blue Lagoon entrance, which is an experience to savour. With the great expanse of luminous blue water steaming at over 40 degrees, even with a strong wind outside, the lagoon was a great place to relax and welcome us to Iceland.

We then made our way to the capital city of Reykjavik, and upon making our way into the city, the modernity of the city struck us, as did the superb, un-crowded road network – not surprising really for this huge country with a population of just 300,000. Our base for the week would be Hotel Cabin, a modern hotel which was spotlessly clean, good facilities and a great breakfast on offer.

Pingvellir national park was the stop next day, which was like watching a geography and science class unroll in front of you. We witnessed the original geyser (which all of the others in the world are named after), the thundering, 3-tiered Gullfoss waterfall, tectonic plate separation in action and a volcanic landscape like a star wars set. We saw many waterfalls on our trip, with each offering another moment of awe, from the 69m Seljalandfoss waterfall, or the 65m Skogarfoss falls set beside the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano which caused havoc with air traffic in Europe in April 2010. Seeing the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano was one of the highlights of the trip, with gigantic rocks spat out by the volcano and spread out by the side of the road; road signs and rooftops blackened by ash which is still being cleared. Despite this, we never felt in danger, as it had been made clear by experts that the volcano had now gone back to sleep – but it allowed a glimpse into a volcano in action without the danger.

On our trip, we also encountered the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe, and the steamy region of Deildartunguhver, where steam bellows from the ground all around you, a demonstration that just a few feet below the ground is an active volcanic landscape.

All-in-all, Iceland proved to be the most interesting, awe inspiring place I have ever visited. We finished the trip with another stop off at the Blue Lagoon, the perfect place to start and end our trip.

Written by Matt Connelly, Sales Manager at Adaptable Travel.

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