Thingvellir National Park

imageOn this rainy but adventurous day, we got the chance to experience something that many had not done before. We started off the day with a group breakfast which consisted of pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Next, we were packed into the vans and began the day’s adventure. As soon as we arrived at the magnificent place we were all filled with excitement. We were split into groups of ten, eight students and two teachers. Our two activities for the day were snorkeling in between the North American and Eurasian continental plates and hiking inside of a lava tube. The snorkeling part of the day started as you went to the location where you put on a “teddy bear suit” and a dry suit. Then when situated we were off to the crystal clear glacial water. This water was straight from the glaciers and we were able to drink the water right out of the stream. The water was chilly at first but once you were numbed it was smooth sailing or should I say smooth swimming.:) Then during the lava tube activity, we got to climb inside of it and had to find our way out with the guides helping a little of course. Some of us brave souls had some unfortunate faults with their wet suits and hitting heads and slipping in the lava tube, but all are fine. After our adventures we weant back to the hotel to get cleaned up and warm then weant out for a nice dinner in town at an Italian restaurant along with some shopping. Then we took a group photo and now we are all tucked in and ready to come home to see our families.

By Juliette, Caroline, and Ashley

Making breakfast!

Making breakfast!

Getting ready for lava tubing

Getting ready for lava tubing

Entering the lava tube

Entering the lava tube


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Last evening in Reykjavik

Last evening in Reykjavik

Eyjafjallajökull

Another beautiful day in Iceland brought many sights, sounds and smells to the travelers from Pace Academy. Our first stop was a farm directly under the volcano that erupted just a few years ago. The family of farmers had the foresight to document their experience during and after the eruption to share with anyone interested in learning more. The eruption lasted nearly 6 weeks and it took 2 years for the family to clean up and get back on track. We met many cows and learned about the rapeseed oil and barley that the family has begun to make before watching the short film the family made about the events. The farm looks better than ever due to ash that made the ground much more fertile. While we are still unable to pronounce the name correctly, we learned many interesting facts and left the day inspired to be farmers.

After a quick drive in the car, we arrived at a glacier which looked menacing from afar. As we trekked closer, we experienced our first downpour outside of the cars. Despite the rain, and some of us not having our rain jackets or hooded jacket with us, we were able to see the glacier and snap some photos before a quick run to the car.

Soaked but smiling, we moved to a beautiful waterfall nearby. With the downpour behind us, we were able to march up a giant staircase into the mists to get a view of an amazing waterfall. Despite some slight fears of height, the pictures we took will last a lifetime and bring us back to the memories of beautiful Icelandic world.

One waterfall just wasn’t enough, so we went to see another. For the first time, we were able to walk underneath the waterfall and take pictures looking up at the falls. The sound of the rushing falls and the spray of water brought us all to a place of joy. The pictures we took there should be some of the best of the trip.

Finally, we arrived back home to enjoy some shopping and dinner in the city before heading to bed for the night. Our final day in Iceland is tomorrow and we are already saddended by its impending arrival. We will miss so much from this trip and are so sad to see it coming to an end.

By Richard, Jack, and Paul-Louis

Goodnight and sleep tight.

Hekla, one of Iceland's most frequently erupting volcanoes

Hekla, one of Iceland’s most frequently erupting volcanoes

Looking at photography of the eruption at the farm

Looking at photography of the eruption at the farm

Meeting the cows

Meeting the cows

New friends!

New friends!

Braving the rain

Braving the rain

Hiking to the glacier

Hiking to the glacier

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Skogafoss

Skogafoss

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

Geysir, Gullfoss, and the Blue Lagoon

Our first adventure for the day was a visit to Geysir, a huge geyser that all other geysers are named after. Another geyser that we saw erupt 3 times while we were there was Strokkur. We got some incredible slow motion shots thanks to some IPhone 5s and some amazing pictures. The Geysir gift shop was pretty amazing and Morgan tried to take home a 6ft puffin while Sophie tried to buy it a seat on the plane! Next we piled in our vans for out next visit to Gullfoss, another incredible waterfall. Next up was a stop at the volcanic black sand beaches of the lake where, supposively, a giant worm monster lives! We also stopped at Seltun, a haunted geothermal area. We hiked up and around the area of Saltun. There is a local legend concerning a witch who casted a spell on a land lord and was thrown into a hot spring. Our final stop was at the world famous Blue Lagoon! We all covered our faces in volcanic silica mud and enjoyed smoothies at the geothermal pool side. To top off the day we had an amazing Icelandic tasting dinner at Reykjavik’s 2nd highest rated restaurant, Grillmarkadurinn which translates to “Grill Market” in English! We tried many new Icelandic foods and had an overall superb experience!

By Morgan, Sarah, Sydnie, Alex, and Anna

Addendum by Ms. Peterson: Jack has written a fantastic summary of last night’s dinner, which we arranged so that students could try Icelandic specialties and be encouraged to step outside their comfort zones, which they did very well. However, it’s so detailed–a dish-by-dish description complete with “fork” ratings–that I’ll send it to the Iceland travelers directly so that they can replay their meals later!

Waiting for Strokkur to erupt

Waiting for Strokkur to erupt

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

At Gullfoss

At Gullfoss

Working the shot

Working the shot

Looking for the Icelandic version of the Loch Ness Monster--a giant wyrm that lives in the lake

Looking for the Icelandic version of the Loch Ness Monster–a giant wyrm that lives in the lake

Geothermal area on the Reykjanes Peninsula that is also haunted!

Geothermal area on the Reykjanes Peninsula that is also haunted!

Arrival in Reykjavik

We started the day packing up our bags and devouring pancakes. We hit the road at around nine in the morning. We visited a few gas stations before heading out to the seal museum at the half way point. We learned that seals have human (like) eyes, that their whiskers are twenty times more sensitive than a cat’s, and that their fur is really soft. After the museum, we drove for a couple more hours listening to music, dancing, and sleeping before reaching Reykjavik where we went to our new homes for the next few days. They are very nice and one block from the shopping and restaurant street. Then we went shopping in groups and going to fabulous restaurants. Mr. Heacock’s nickname is now “Soccer Mom” because he drives a van full of crazy kids. We’re settling in to our new apartments now, and looking forward to a good night’s sleep, even though it never gets dark here. By Spencer, Maggie, Sophie, Lucy, and India.

Photos by Sophie, Lucy, India, Mrs. Inman and Mrs. Camp

Weighing how much a seal eats

Weighing how much a seal eats

Feeling how soft a seal is!

Feeling how soft a seal is!

It's been rainy but still very beautiful!

It’s been rainy but still very beautiful!

Splashes of sunlight!

Splashes of sunlight!

Grabbing some Italian for dinner

Grabbing some Italian for dinner

Shopping for groceries in Reykjavik

Shopping for groceries in Reykjavik

Carrying groceries in Reykjavik

Carrying groceries in Reykjavik

Lake Myvatn

Namafjall

Namafjall

Today we started off by stopping at Laufas. We learned about the history of the Icelandic people and their living quarters. We walked into the small houses that were covered in turf. These houses were built with turf to preserve heat. On the inside the houses were very small and sort of dark. The house had been settled around 1047 and the current version was from the 1800s. Next we traveled to the rare pseudocraters at Lake Myvatn. The only other place you can find them other than Iceland is on Mars. Our next stop was at Dimmuborgir where there are interesting lava formations and trolls and fairies are thought to live. Next we visited the lava field and were attacked by swarms and swarms and swarms of midges. Then we tried lava bread. It was pretty good. After escaping the midges, we went to the geothermal field that smelled like sulfur. We saw bubbling mud pots of death and a red mountain and stood in the steam of fumaroles. It smelled amazing, just like rotten eggs. Next we went to the crater lake where we almost got blown away by the wind. It was worth it, though, because the beautiful snowy crater looked like the foundation of a fairy castle. We couldn’t get to the parking lot because it was covered with snow and had to trek in. We raced back down and I (Richard) won. Our next experience was the relaxing geothermically heated baths. It was a light blue pool which was foggy because of the silica and had black rocks at the bottom. The bath was a pleasant temperature which made our skin really soft. We are about to head back to Akureyri for dinner. It was a great way to finish off our stay in Akureyri.

By Alex, Ashley, Richard, Sarah, Anna

Photos by Mrs. Inman, India, Lucy, and Mrs. Camp
N.B.–We would love to post a wider cross section of photos from more students, but because most shots (there must be thousands by now, collectively) are on cameras, not on a phone or iPad, it’s difficult for us to upload them from here. You can look forward to TONS of pictures from the kids upon our return, and in the meantime if your child is with us and has free data or wireless access and can send a few photos from their phone to my email address we would love to have more to post here! We also really appreciate and thank our “regular contribtors”! –kp

Laufas

Laufas

Our favorite Icelandic vikings

Our favorite Icelandic vikings

The midge nets came in handy!

The midge nets came in handy!

Photography at Dimmuborgir

Photography at Dimmuborgir

Viti, the crater lake, was a bit windy!

Viti, the crater lake, was a bit windy!

Pseudocraters

Pseudocraters

Hverir/Namafjall Geothermal Area

Hverir/Namafjall Geothermal Area

Lava formations at Dimuborgir, home of the Yule Lads and the troll queen Gryla.

Lava formations at Dimuborgir, home of the Yule Lads and the troll queen Gryla.

The drive home

The drive home