Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Iceland;day four

I went for a walk before breakfast as our hotel was in the countryside.

The sun was just rising over the hills to my left.
Oystercatchers were making a lot of noise and I could hear ptarmigan calling.
 and then it started to snow so visibility was greatly reduced and I went inside for breakfast.
Our last full day on the island was as jam packed as ever. After breakfast we had to pack our bags and put the on the coach as we would be in a different hotel for our last night.
A waterfall was our first stop.
On the way to our next stop we passed some Icelandic horses.

Another waterfall was next on our agenda
A geyser was our next stop where we joined the crowds waiting for the next show.

A dairy farm for an ice cream was next.
We watched the cows feeding whilst we ate our ice cream and then onto our last stop for the day.

Redwings were everywhere as we walked back to the coach. A place where the tectonic plates of America and Eurasia meet was our last stop.

It was a long drive back to our hotel as we had to stay near the airport. We had to get up at 4am on Saturday to have breakfast and then load our bags on to coaches for the trip to the airport. Although we were staying at the edge of the airport it was a 14 mile trip to reach the terminal. Once checked in we were soon on board and heading for home. Not as much cloud on the return journey and although we could see some islands we were unable to identify them.

 We had to circle Manchester airport for about 30 minutes before they would let us land and then another bus journey back to York. A memorable trip and a place well worth returning to, but perhaps not with 89 kids!!

Iceland:day three

A more leisurely start today as we had to pack our bags and move hotels. Our coach took us towards the south coast of the island where we would be walking on a glacier and visiting a beach that is composed of black sand. On our journey we saw Eyjafjallajokull the volcano whose eruption caused chaos around the world due to the dust cloud.
 When we arrived at the glacier we had to put on a hard helmet,,, and carry an ice axe and crampons. Just before the glacier we out our crampons on and had a practice at stomping round in them. We climbed to about 500 metres on the glacier and on the way our guide explained how glaciers were formed. The glacier that we were on is featured in "Chase the ice", a film using time lapse photography to show the effect of climate change. Our guide reckons that in two years time they will not be able to access the glacier using the current entrance as the glacier is melting and the lake will cover the entrance path.

It was then time to visit another waterfall.

I did a spot of birdwatching here as fulmars were nesting on the ledges either side of the waterfall.

As we drove from the waterfall to our next stop our guide told us about the islanders using the hot water etc for heating greenhouses and how they are one of the few islands to grow bananas!
From the coach window I could see lots of whooper swans in the fields and in the same fields were lots of pink footed geese. At one stop to look at some rock features I sneaked off and took some pictures of a ptarmigan.

Not brilliant pictures die to the wind and the snow. The birds were still in their all white plumage and we saw them in several places during our visit.
Our last stop of the day was to visit a beach comprised of black sand and to see some basalt columns which had been the inspiration for the architect of the church in the capital.

It was snowing during our visit to the beach so we were all glad to get back on the coach and go to another hotel.

Iceland:day two

A very early start as we had a couple of hours coach journey to take us to Langiokull glacier, which is the second largest in Iceland. We changed our mode of travel to use this 50 tonne ex- rocket launcher to get up to the glacier.
We then went into the ice tunnel under the glacier

I did not use flash in the tunnel as it removed the effects that the blue lights gave.
When we emerged from the tunnel we were in a whiteout!
After a snowball fight it was time to return to base camp and get back on the coach and visit Hraunfossar waterfalls

It was then back on the coach and return to Reykjavik. We had our evening meal in a burger bar where they keep track of the number of people on the island. They celebrate a birth by ringing a bell and changing the number on something resembling a cricket scoreboard!