Well what a day. Arriving back at the hotel at 7pm, after 10 hours on the road, the pupils will certainly remember today.
2 years ago the skies of Europe were brought to a standstill by the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption and today we visited the place where it all happened.
Starting in the Eyjafjallajokull floodplain we ascended the Stori Dimon volcanic plug to view the flood plain, braided rivers and area where the flood waters from the eruption washed away the coastal road. After a discussion about the volcanic eruptions of Surtsey and Heimaey in the 1960's and 70's, we descended Stori Dimon in order to begin our journey to Thorsmork (Thor's Wood) and to the Gigjokull glacier. Our 'off road', 67 seater bus, began the journey along some of Iceland's more 'interesting' roads and as we ploughed through river after river, to the whoops of delight of the pupils, we stopped at the base of the Gigjokull glacier. Following previous visits to the same area over the last 9 years, we were able to show photos of glacial retreat in action and view the location of the 2010 eruption.
The whole area has been transformed in the last 2 years and we were able to view the effects of the eruption (and when we were back in the classroom this evening we actually viewed the eruption - the wonders of You Tube!).
Lunch and a steep climb to the summit of the Valahnjukur mountain followed; many of the pupils have already voted this as their best moment so far - the views are truly breathtaking - and the crater of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano really wasn't that far away. Then for our journey home. Having driven through many a river to arrive at Valahnjukur we did not envisage any problems getting home - how wrong could we be. To put it bluntly, the wheels on the bus went round and round but unfortunately they weren't going anywhere.
Our coach driver, Marek, tried and tried but it was time to call for the big blue tractor to tow us out of the river. In order to lighten the load, the pupils, staff and our guide Halldor, headed several miles up the valley to cross the river via a footbridge, while the bus was escorted across by the tractor. Eventually we were reunited with the bus but this was not the end of the adventure as we still had a 1 hour bone shaking journey back to civilisation. The tarmac road eventually provided much needed light relief and a chance for some to catch up on some sleep. The visit to Seljalandfoss waterfall that was postponed from today will hopefully happen tomorrow and will round off another busy day.