Thornton-Donovan’s Vikings conquer the incredible landscape of Iceland

By: Yuriy Sandmeier, Staff Reporter

ICELAND — Thornton-Donovan left school on April 6 to conquer another country, Iceland.

On the first day in Iceland, T-D went to the Guna Geyser. We visited the bridge between the continents. The bridge between the continents is two tectonic plates. These two tectonic plates move apart at a speed of two centimeters per year.

T-D next went to the Blue Lagoon. The water at the Blue Lagoon is geothermal, which means the water is heated deep within the Earth before it comes to the surface. The Blue Lagoon was formed when water from the Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant stayed above ground instead of sinking back into the Earth.

After T-D went to the Blue Lagoon, the tourists stopped at the hotel for this part of the trip—The Viking Hotel. On the outside, the hotel looks like a three-story, extra long cabin with dragon designs. On the inside, almost everything is made of wood. The hotel workers were dressed up like Vikings.

The Aurora Reykjavík, a northern lights center, was the next stop after dropping bags at the hotel. There we found out the secret of the fabulous phenomenon of the northern lights. They occur when charged particles from the sun enter Earth’s atmosphere. We had dinner in a restaurant that served fish kebabs. There some students tried whale for the first time.

“The whale was excellent,” said one of the students. “It kind of tasted like steak.”

On the second day in Iceland, we boarded our bus with our tour guide, Petur, and headed to the southern part of Iceland. The incredible waterfall Seljandafoss was the first stop. What made Seljandafoss special was that you could walk behind it. That is, if you didn’t mind getting slightly wet.

After that, Thornton-Donovan saw the wonderful beaches of Vik and continued on to the Skógafoss waterfall. The Skógafoss waterfall is the tallest in Europe. At the folk museum, students and other travelers learned about the tools the Vikings used about a thousand years ago.

On the third day in Iceland, we went to a geothermal power plant where we learned about how the water was heated, and we also learned about earthquakes. Then we went to the valley of Haukadalur, which had many geysers. We started the tour by eating geothermal bread. The bread is made when the bakers put the dough into a dormant geyser and let the heat of the geyser (about 90-100 degrees Centigrade) bake the bread. After we finished our delicious bread, we saw a geyser by the name of Strokur erupt.

We visited the Gulfoss waterfall. It had two parts . The first was 11-meters long, and the second part was 20-meters tall. The last thing we did was tour Thingvellir National Park.  About a thousand years ago, Thingvellir hosted the Althing (the Viking parliament). In more modern times, almost every national holiday is celebrated there.

On the fourth day in Iceland, T-D toured downtown Reykjavík. First we visited the Höfði house (I have no clue how to pronounce it). The Höfði house is where Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan met to discuss ending the Cold War. Then we went to Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran Church, the tallest church in Iceland. We got to go to the top and had great view of downtown. After the view, we went to visit with the president of Iceland.

On the fifth day in Iceland, we toured the Icelandic Opera House. One thing that made the opera house cool was that instead of two-dimensional windows it had three-dimensional windows. Another thing that made the opera house cool was that they can shift the walls so the music is louder or softer.

TD had a great time in Iceland.