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IceLand Lab’ - 12th to 26th July 2015

24 young european people decided to discover the mysteries of Iceland through a linguistic holiday.

13-15 ans 16-18 ans

Domaines : Séjour Linguistique, Volcans, Géologie, Journalisme Scientifique, Randonnée, Glaciers,

[rouge]ICELAND DAILY BLOG [\rouge]

A good mix between science and linguistic study holiday ! 15 days in one of the most fabulous island on planet earth, a true open-air geology book, a volcano on your right and a glacier on your left... This holiday offers an amazing science journalism project about glaciers, rocks, vocanos, water and climate change. All in english !

You’ll take part in the proposals for sutainable development, in the field of climate change on the planet.

 DAY 1 - 12th July : Reykjavik !

Today, we all arrived to Reykjavik’s airport, the capital of Iceland. The ones who arrived earlier bought the food at a supermarket and built the tents. The weather was quite good compared to the average weather. There are people coming from France, Spain, Russia, Egypt and Switzerland. Rough conditions are expected for the next two week.


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 DAY 2 - 13th July

Hello everybody !

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Today, after having our first breakfast in Iceland, the first place we visited was a fault between the American and European tectonic plates. Over there, we measured the length between them : it was 16,5 meters. We calculated that the fault is 660 years old so that means that it was created in 1355. When you see the fault, this is difficult to imagine the power needed to move it ! We have collected samples of rocks which we found on the floor and we have identified a few. The two most common ones were the magnetite and the basalt. On the way to hot springs we have spotted quite a few geothermal electricity stations, which use hot water to produce electricity. The advantage of such stations is that the energy they use is renewable and eco – friendly. After having lunch we visited the Selton hot springs. We recorded the temperature and the acidity of these springs at different levels of the volcano. The most impressive pH was in a small puddle with the pH of 3 or 4 and the most impressive temperature was 95°C. A small negative to this was the constant smell of rotten eggs which was caused by the sulphur. To get those measurements we had to climb up the volcano, but from the top we were able to enjoy a wonderful view. The road was slippery, so we had to be attentive in choosing the path.

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In the end we came back to the camping site to take our swimming suits and towels to go to the pool, where we were able to enjoy hot water and nice showers. There was a wide range of pools with different temperatures, also some people played water polo while the others were enjoying the rides.

The ambiance between everyone was great because everybody communicated well even though some people found it difficult to speak another language. However, we learnt a lot of things today and had fun.

 DAY 3 - 14th July

We woke up and had a nice breakfast. Then we packed our tents, clothes and other stuff and we went to Reykjavik. Then we had a small excursion in the townhall with a big map of Iceland in 3D. For lunch we had hot dogs with fried onions, cheese, potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes. After, we went to the new camping at Hveragerdi which is bigger than the previous one. We have a nice kitchen and now we are going to have dinner.

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 DAY 4 - 15th July

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This morning, after having breakfast as usual, we travelled in our minibuses to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The landscape was beautiful, with big cliffs sticking out of the plain following the coastline. For the whole journey, we have three buses with a different task. The first one, the cooking team, cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner ; the second one, the logistic team, is in charge of cleaning the dishes after the cooking team, making sure that when we leave a place, it is clean and buying the food for the cooking team. The last one is the science bus, who take pictures, make measurements when it is needed, and writes the diary you are reading right now. Every day, we rotate the task that each bus needs to do. The afternoon, we went to Seljavellir which literally means the valley of “Selja”, the area where we were. We had a bath in a natural swimming pool where the water was at 35 C°, it was very relaxing ! Today’s weather was very good ; almost a full blue sky and a warm temperature. For dinner, the cooking team prepared us pasta with salmon. There were a bit sticky but it was still a good try.

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 DAY 5 - 16th July

Today we were moving to the different camp site, so we have spent some time packing our things and folding the tents. Journey to the next stop was supposed to be quite long but a good thing is that we enjoyed nice music on the way there. We have stopped for lunch near sea, so it was windy and it started to rain heavily. Fortunately, there was a cave where we could escape from such a bad weather. Afterwards we have done an experiment with vanilla. We were studying the formation of crystals : there size depends on the speed of cooling down after being heated.

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Finally we have arrived to our destination. Views here are picturesque and we are able to see the biggest glacier in Iceland from here.

 DAY 6 - 17th July

Today, we have worked in the longest glacier in Europe. In the morning, we have visited svartifoss a beautiful waterfall with basalt columns. After we have had a lunch with bread, tomatoes, cucumbers and yogurts. This afternoon we have looked skatafell and svinafell, 2 parts of vatnajokull, this glacier and now we must have a shower because we haven’t taken it since 3 days. In svinafell the second glacier we have found geodes of quartz and calcites. For some persons, that was a real happiness.

 DAY 7 - 18th July

Today we have seen one of the most beautiful place in Iceland : the glacial lagoon. At the bottom of the glacier Jökulsárlón, a lake has formed where thousands of icebergs are floating. First, we went on the beach to touch the stranded icebergs and play with them. Then we started to walk along the glacial lagoon ; we enjoyed the shades of blue and white and contrast it creates. We had lunch by the lake and made a replica of a map of Iceland with rocks and ice. We took the time to review the Islandic vocabulary about geological features – eg : lakes, valleys, waterfall… -. Murielle showed us on the map the journey ahead. We enjoyed the sunny weather ‘till the end and came back with the first drops of rain.

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 DAY 8 - 19th July

Today, we moved to another camping site. On the way there, we went to the swimming pool where we had fun and got a shower. We then stopped to see a 62 meter high waterfall at Skogarfoss. It was very impressive and beautiful. We went above it and the landscape was wonderful. The sunny weather made it very enjoyable.

In the evening we played a game about Vikings and Indians, as Vikings were the first ones to discover America (Leifur the Lucky). At the end of this first week, we can say that we saw really interesting things, learned a lot and the bonds between the group’s people began to strengthen. For the moment, everybody is happy of this camp.

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 DAY 9 - 20th July

Today was the opening of the game “The Killer” which will take place until the end of the trip. Everyone has a target, and is supposed to get the target do something, or say something particular, and then the target is “killed”. Murielle was the first one to be “killed”, during breakfast and we deplore now several “death” at the end of the day. After preparing our bags, we took the Ferry to go on Westman Islands, little Islands on the south. We climbed to the top of a Volcano, and even if it was hard, the view worth it ! Some part of the Volcano were still warm from the eruption of 1973, and we mesured the temperature : the maximum we found was 193,5°C. We came back with the same vintage Ferry to our campsite and played Vikings and Indians while diner was being cooked.

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 DAY 10 - 21st July

Today we moved from our camping at Hvolsvollur to Hvergardi, our second camping site. At Hvergardi, without stopping at the camping, we walked to a hot river. The climb was about one hour up. The temperature of the river was about 38° C but there was some sources of water that were cold so it was very refreshing. Some of us covered our faces with clay and it was very good. We walked down in about half an hour and we ate some snacks down at the vans. We then went to the camping and planted the tents. The weather was pretty good, no rain, but no big sunshine.

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 DAY 11 - 22nd July

Today, we went to Geyser, a little town in the south of Iceland. It is known for having the second largest geyser in the whole of Europe. We saw two geysers : the “Geyser”, which is not working anymore due to all the garbage that was thrown in it by tourists, and a smaller one, which blows around 1 time per 5 minutes. Afterwards, we went to the gifts shop, where we could buy some souvenirs.

After eating enormous sandwiches, (as usual), we saw the largest waterfall of Europe (Gulfoss) and we took many amazing photos and videos. It was very impressive and spectacular ! This waterfall is separated in two parts : the first one, which is 11 meters high, and the second one, (the biggest) which is 20 meters high.

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At the end of the day, we went to a big swimming pool, with very high diving boards. It was so gooooooooood and fun !!!!! See you soon !

 DAY 12 - 23rd July

Today, we visited a lava tunnel. It was formed when the outsides of the lava cooled down and hardened down first while the rest of the lava in the centre continued moving. One side of the tunnel had collapsed covering the floor of the tunnel with uneven rocks. At the beginning of the cave, the rocks were covered by a layer of ice.

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This made walking quite perilous. However no one got seriously injured. We stopped near the middle of the cave to have a small snack. Many of us were already starting to get tired by then after having spent two hours negotiating our way over and around countless and being forced to listen to the bad jokes ‘Inspector Couscous’ threw around.

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We turned back and retraced our steps to the entrance of the cave. It was raining when we got out and when we reached camp, Natalie made us some delicious soup.

 DAY 13 & 14 - 24th & 25th July

This last two days, we had the retransmission of our work. We presented at the campsite to all people who were interested in what we did. We produced short scientific videos about what we ‘seen during our journey. You can see all the videos we made.

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Then we came back to Reykjavik, visited downtown, and had a nice last party. We wished happy birthday to Lise and François, and offered them “Skyr” the unforgettable. That’s a typical desert we ate a lot. It’s some kind of milk-cheese with fruit flavour, or natural and we mixed jam. The plane takes off early tomorrow morning…


Marcos Gelizo, muriel CLEAUD , Nathalie JAVAULT, Rémy QUEHON,
date de publication : 1er juillet 2015,
date de dernière mise à jour : 7 novembre 2015

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