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For the Geography Department, the holidays at St John’s often provide an unmissable opportunity for enrichment, with educational trips to different parts of the world. In the first week of the Easter break, 38 Fourth Form pupils took part in the Department’s annual trip to Iceland. There, they were able to explore some of the contrasting features of the country, from the sights of the capital to the outstanding natural beauty of the most isolated regions.
On arriving, the group stayed for one night in a town on the outskirts of Reykjavik, giving them the chance to visit the city before making for the remoter parts of the country where they would be spending the next three nights. They were joined on the trip by Arni, their Icelandic tour guide, who introduced them to some of Iceland’s geographical wonders. Pupils marvelled for example at how, in such a cold country, geothermally heated water could be used to warm everything from roads and pavements to ponds and swimming pools. They saw, too, many amazing waterfalls, rivers, geysers and volcanoes, discovering also what it was like to walk on a glacier. The group immersed themselves fully in true Icelandic customs, swimming at a local outdoor swimming pool. Even with an air temperature of just 4°C, everyone was disappointed to leave the pool nearly two hours later. Finally, on the way to the airport on the last day, the party finished off the trip with a relaxing dip in the more touristy, blue lagoon.
A particular bonus of the tour this year was the unexpected opportunity pupils had to witness the stunning northern lights, which gave pupils a convincing excuse to stay up after bedtime staring at the strange green lights in the night sky. This glimpse of the aurora borealis, as it is termed, is highly unusual at this time of year, but for many is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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