A journey from Portland, ME to Reykjavik, Iceland: part 2

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Zoe in Iceland

By Zoe Bernardi, Community Editor

Part two of the travel reflection

After my week in Portland, my class and I flew from Boston’s Logan Airport on Saturday to Iceland. We went right into our full day in Iceland. Our days were long, packing many things into one day, spending time in nature and two days in Reykjavik.

We had a tour guide named Oli that taught us about the geothermal history of the land, history of vikings and the Icelandic politics. We wrote dispatch blogs about our experiences:

The first one was written on the first day of class. We visited the Grindavik area, coastal beach, an old farm, the place between the two countries and geothermal areas. Blue seas and cloudy skies, my adventures in Grindavik, Iceland. Imagine 18 people sleep deprived on a medium sized white bus. An older man sitting up front holding a microphone telling students to constantly look left and right and left again out the windows on the bus. The bus then abruptly stops and the student are single file leave the bus, what they see perks up their tired eyes and brings a smile to their faces. The wind blows cool air into our faces, brightening up our bodies as we feast your eyes on the views of the huge dark blue waters. The stones stick up so jagged, yet natural. We climb above on the steep, dry and stone filled mountain to uncover the view of the whole shore, the white crashing waves against the large moss filled rocks below. The sounds of camera shutters and crying seagulls. I peer over the edge to reveal more moss covered rocks and deep dark water. The sun peeks through the cloudy grey sky, we all squint in the group pictures. We were rejuvenated by the sun and saltwater, it wiped away our sleepy eyes.

The following day, we were in the town of Keflavik, Iceland where we were staying on the old American army base. This base was made during the Cold War to protect Iceland from Russia.

Zoe in Iceland

We went fishing on the third day, out on the clear blue waters. We caught 100 pounds of fresh cod:

While in Iceland, please climb on the rocks. To wander is to explore without the plans of doing something for specific reason. Walking around and see what lays beyond the dark slightly organized rocks. Uncertain of what we will face. The uneven jagged rocks pose as an adventure, the fear of being yelled by those who pass, “don’t climb on the rocks!” But we don’t experience that, we are cheered on for doing what is not the beaten path. The sun has a power over us, its rays provide us with the warmth and push for our true happiness. When we stand on the rocking boat deep in the ocean, we have to embrace the sun. It’s glorified feeling brings smiles to all of our faces, we squint to make out each other. We find ourselves in our best state, happy and cheerful. The chipper conversations spread to others and soon we are all talking about the same amazing trip we are on. Being present in the moment. So while in Iceland, please climb on the rocks and enjoy the sunshine.
On my last day my close friend group and I went on an adventure to go to another local swimming pool. We went to the hidden lagoon, which is a local outdoor geothermal pool that has a gravel ground, plus the very touristy Blue Lagoon. But we wanted to try another style, this pool had a place to swim laps, six different temperatures hot tubs and a slide! Our tour bus dropped off the other students and we were dropped off at the pool. We were told “It’s only a 15 minute walk from the pool to the hostel,” so it seemed like a no brainer. However, we realized it was really 3 miles back and took an hour! But it was still a very memorable moment:

Before heading back to America, some of us decided to go on one last excursion. While everyone else was in the hostel packing up and taking power naps, a few adventurous souls went to the local geothermal pool. On arrival we scoped the scene, 4 hot tubs, and a larger pool, what caught our eyes was a green water slide. Our inner child came out when we realized that the slide was open. It was calling our names. The rush of adrenaline when we thrust ourselves down on our backs, picking up speed and the flying sensation of sliding off and into the warm water. We all come out of the water with huge smiles and loud laughs. Our American accents echoed in the icelandic pool. We were the outsiders. But we had each other and we were able to share this moment. We all shared this trip together, hanging out, staying up late talking.

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