We arrived in Iceland around three weeks ago and have been having a great time. We had to take an initial COVID test at the airport and quarantine for five days before taking another one to confirm the first negative test. Thankfully, we all tested negative. After we got out of quarantine, we began a trip around Iceland, visiting many waterfalls and learning about the island.
Some highlights of the trip were a guided tour of a glacier that ended in a beautiful ice cave. We walked around a forest that has been planted to harvest timber by the forest service here in Iceland. The forest has Sitka and Engelmann Spruce, Larch (but a Siberian kind), Mountain Hemlock, Douglas Fir, and Lodgepole Pine. We also visited a large dam that was built in 2007 to power an aluminum plant (bad and evil). Finally, we took a ferry to the island of Grímsey where we could walk into the arctic circle. Celine broke her 8 year no-puking streak, as the ride was quite miserable with waves crashing over the front of the boat, so she’s bummed about that.
We have just arrived in Isafjordur where we’ll be staying with host families for the next three weeks, and taking classes at the local university.
It was initially quite strange to walk into grocery stores without masks, or to stay in hotels, but we quickly readjusted. Because tourism in Iceland is very much affected by COVID, we were some of the only tourists at our stops and sometimes were alone. We also spoke to some of our tour guides and guesthouse owners about how they have been affected. Our program was slightly rearranged because of COVID, but we have still been learning a lot and having fun. Some guest lectures have been online, but they have all worked out smoothly. Overall, we’re just grateful the program actually ran.