The Golden Circle

Today we got ready to go on the famous Golden Circle tour. This is a series of stops of Iceland’s amazing natural features and landforms. Our first stop was a beautiful view of the lake in the National Park.

Then we stopped at the break between the Eurasian and North American plates. Being at this place was surreal as the plates are what create volcanic activity and ultimately creates geothermal energy. It’s also where the first democratic Parliament in the world sat. (Iceland claims democracy before Greece!)

Then we went to a cow farm for ice cream and coffee- no we have not eaten lunch yet:). Then it was onto the Geysir. This area had several hot pools and the original Geysir! Geysir means gusher in Iceland.   All other geysers are called to Geysirs because of it. We even saw one erupt several times.  Then we ate lunch.  We then headed to Gullfoss to see the waterfall. It was beautiful!  We ended our day in Jeep buggies through the mountains!

Tours, tours, and more tours!

This morning we got up and headed to Sandbolt for breakfast and a planning session. We sat around and organized who was going to ask which questions we had about energy and culture. You think students have a lot of questions, try teachers! We were flexing our curiosity muscles and ready to follow in our students’ footsteps! 

We then met Marteinn, our Icelandic tour guide. He was a former 10th grade history teacher, so we were in luck. He lead us all around the city- through the prison, by the church, and around the high school. We saw Viking settlements and even happened on a traditional Icelandic high school dance.  We ate the traditional Icelandic hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, fried onions, remolaude sauce, and raw onions! We finished our walking tour in the Harpa, overlooking the mountains and water.

We then split up and divided and conquered! There was too many things to see. Ms. Myles, Mrs. Schramm, Ms. Meiselman, and myself (Ms. Rhodes) went to the Viking settlement house, where we saw a Viking long house from 1000 AD! They used the geothermal pools to wash clothes and bathe! They might have even abandoned this home because it was too warm. It’s hard to imagine being too warm here:).  The other group of teachers went to the church and filmed in and around the city. They even created a math lesson based on the church’s height!

Next we prepped for our food tour with Alexandra and Thor. We ate artic char, fish mash, lamb soup, cheese and unique meats to Iceland, and rye bread ice cream!

We were full and happy and ready to get some sleep for our next adventure.

Our last day at Reykjavik University

Happy May! We actually were here on an Icelandic national holiday, their Labor Day. We started off our morning with a delicious breakfast at a nearby cafe and began brainstorming more ideas about bringing energy back to the Lower School.  Today the professors told us all about the power grid and geothermal law.  If you’ve ever heard that the weather in Iceland changes every 5 minutes….it’s true!  We learned a new weather term today. Graupel is a form of hail that is light, fluffy and perfectly round. It looks like Dippin’ Dots.  It only occurs during the spring and summer months in Iceland.  After class some of us went to the largest church in Iceland, Hallgrimskirkja, for a view of the city from the tower. What a beautiful day!  Then we all celebrated Mrs. Scott’s birthday together! ​

We are students!

Today was our first day studying renewable energy at Reykjavik University’s School of Energy. Laptops and journals in hand, we stepped into the university classroom as students.  The first class covered The Iceland Energy System: Renewable Energy in Iceland, and provided the perfect overview of all the systems we’ll be studying while we’re here.  Geothermal Energy in Iceland and Wind Energy were up next. These classes were full of the science behind these systems and provide a venue for us to ask questions of content experts. We even got to walk downstairs to interact with student-built wind tunnels. As we wind down our day with a walk to the water and pizza in the apartment, we are full of inspiration and looking forward to a day of learning tomorrow! #lifelonglearners #wearestudents

Students at Reykjavik University

Energy Systems

Reykjavik University

Wind Tunnel

1st Day in Iceland

We made it into Reykjavík this morning at 6:00 AM. We headed straight to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa built into the volcanic rock. We toured the facility and learned so much! We learned about the geothermal plant, how the lagoon was created, and the benefits of the silfra in the water. We had two great tour guides, Stefan and David who answered all of our questions and comments from where are the elves, to teach us Icelandic, to how the US compared to Iceland.  We then headed into the blue lagoon. It was beautiful and warm. It is naturally heated by geothermal energy, and it renews itself 40 hours, as our tour guide said, “it is both artificial and natural.” As one of the 25 wonders of the world according to National Geographic, it was truly amazing to experience and to see what renewable energy can do. Then we headed to Reykjavík. Tomorrow we start class at the university!