Going Places Educational Travel Blog - Destination Spotlight: Iceland
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April 9, 2018

Destination Spotlight: Iceland

By Kathleen Mueller

 

One of our recent spring groups traveled to Iceland in early March. Brrrr? Maybe not. The temperatures in Iceland in March are not unlike those in New England or the upper Midwestern U.S. States, or even warmer. Between roughly 28 degrees and 38 degrees, Fahrenheit.

 group in Iceland

What about short, dark days? Not so bad, either. In March, the average length of daylight is about 10 or 11 hours!

The country’s capital is Reyjkavik (pronounced Ray-kya-veek) – roughly translated to mean “Smoky Bay”. It is located on the coastline, and is obviously the nation’s largest city. It also happens to be the northernmost capital city on Earth!

 

Reykjavik Iceland

Iceland is a goldmine of geological treasures. For those interested in Earth science, like me, this is the place to go.

 

student group in Iceland

 The island was created by flowing glaciers and active volcanoes, to start with.

It gets even better with finds such as the Blue Lagoon, Gullfoss Waterfall, the Great Geyser and the Strokkur Geyser (it erupts every 5-10 minutes!), the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, the Skogafoss Waterfall (often delighting tourists with a surprise double rainbow!), the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, lava fields, hot springs, volcanoes, glaciers, black sand beaches, geothermal fields, sulfur springs, boiling pools, incredible natural rock formations, the Snaefellsjokull Glacier, Lake Kleifarvatn which is part of an actual lunar landscape, and the rocky headland known as Dyrrholaey.

One of the most fun activities is an Earthquake Simulator, which replicates tremors that reached 6.3 on the Richter scale during the Hverageroi earthquake in 2008. The simulator is aptly named: Quake 2008.

 Iceland Blue Lagoon

Author Jules Verne chose Iceland as the backdrop for his 1864 sci-fi novel, Journey To the Center of the Earth.

There’s even a bridge (named in honor of Leif Erikson) that actually connects Eurasia and North America via continental tectonic plates! The plates shift away from one another at a rate of approximately .8 inches per year. How cool is that?

In Iceland, the official language is Icelandic, which is a Nordic-based language closely related to the northern Germanic languages. Some say it’s a combination of Danish, Celtic, Norwegian and Faroese. But don’t fret: almost everyone in Iceland speaks English fluently.

A night excursion to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is available from October to March. 

Iceland Northern Lights Aurora Borealis

If you want to get a little shopping in, there is hope! The Handknitting Association of Iceland (yeah!) has a fabulous store where you can get Icelandic sweaters and other knitwear… and even some hand-spun yarn if you, yourself, are a knitter. 

Want to know more? Check out our 9-day tour Iceland: Fire, Steam and Ice!

Category: For Teachers, Travel Inspiration




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