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Iceland Day 4

With an increasing number of schools arriving at our hotel, rivalry over the breakfast bar is becoming increasingly heated. However after eating we set off straight away on a day that would “test the senses” according to our rep Kate. We soon realised what she meant as we pulled up to a ‘fish rack’, the experience was almost surreal as there was rack upon rack of fish dangling from the crossbars, with no other human in sight! On the right side there was recently caught fish of which smelled bearable – at a push. However worse was to be discovered as we wandered over the the left side where the dry fish were hung, it was certainly a unique experience to have stared into the eyes of fish who’s carcasses were just as extinct as some of the menacing volcanoes that loomed up around us.

Next was a huge lake caused by a steam eruption crater. It was cold and there was ice so of course it encouraged the appearance of the classic behaviour of launching the biggest rock one can carry into the ice, in order to display your dominance to Mother Nature.

Following the display of power, we headed on for a 10 minute drive up to some hot springs. However they did not offer the same kind of pampering that the blue lagoon did. The sulphur was certainly present and if you are not that fond of eggs, or you are Dan Isherwood, it would not be your cup of tea. It was almost to a point where it was unbearable however the cameras were persistent in their quest to capture this magnificent country.

On the way to the next destination, Mr Machin enlightened us on the extinct bird, Great Auk. However they had had a very roller coaster existence. Firstly they started of in colonies in Newfoundland and developed as an incredible effective water bird however when they came onto the land to breed they were incredibly clumsy. This inability to fly or run off made them a great target for the colonies of human that were growing in size for the late 1700 to early 1800. They became extinct in Newfoundland but there story doesn’t end there as they migrated to Iceland and started all over agian, but then there was tragedy as an eruption pretty much wiped the colony out. The last remaining 40 pairs of birds then retreated to the Island of Eldey but their days were numbered. The Victorian scientists were more interested in pickling and stuffing animals than conserving them. They had become so rare that one taxidermist bird sold for the price of an entire street in a London auction house! In May 1844 the last two breeding birds were clubbed to death by the local Icelanders and the bird passed into myth and legen. The lonely isle of Eldey, standing in the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, is their lasting memorial.
*round of applause for Mr Machin*

Following this, our next destination was a 30 minute drive to Reykjanes, where the mid-Atlantic ridge juts out of the sea. As we walked along its black sandy cliffs we could just about make out the Island of Eldey in the grey wet weather Mr Machin was telling us about. We then walked down to where the rocks had fallen off the cliff and listen to Mr Lowe tell us about how they got there by processes of freeze thaw on a massive scale as the lava had dated back to 1226. After this we had a steep climb up to the next cliff along giving us a spectacular view of both he black sandy dunes behind us and the sea crashing up against black cliffs.

Believe it or not this day was a shortened day! But nevertheless, when the clock read 12 we were at our second hot springs of the day. These where much more impressive then the prior ones and also didn’t stink of egg. So if you are not a fan of egg, or you are Dan Isherwood, it might not be your cup of tea. Next, we had a short drive to the Mid-Atlantic ridge where we stopped to stock up on food for lunch. We then walked to a place where the split of the North American and the Euroasian plate are visible. As we walked up the lads drew all manor of images in the black sand…

When we returned to the hotel we were allowed free time in Reykjavik and we trawled around the ‘Free WiFi spots’ and purchased some souvenirs.

Returning to the hotel we are currently relaxing at the time of writing this (if the hotel wifi pleases) waiting for our trip to the huge Spa Complex – get jealous guys

Bring on the final day

By Oliver Dernie & Fred Dobberson

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