The Icelandic parliament is the oldest parliament in the world. It was established in 930AD.
Its original site was situated in the wide tectonic rift between the two continents of America and Europe. Uncanny hey?
Each summer clan leaders would ride on horseback for days to convene there. In two weeks of talks and negotiations they would resolve all the issues for the year.
A cynic might say that leaders of the modern British parliament break for two weeks each summer and spend the rest of the year in talks and negotiations but still fail to resolve anything meaningful. But that would be truly cynical.
Today is Shrove Tuesday, or in Icelandic, Sprengidagur – or Exploding Day: that is, people eat so much until they almost explode (as they prepare to begin their fast tomorrow).
Tuesday 17th February 2015
Godan dagin (good day!)
Today we woke up at 7 to see even more snow had fallen over night!
We had breakfast at 8 and even though we were not able to have pancakes on Shrove Tuesday we did have some delicious waffles!
At 9 we headed off to an Icelandic school called Hveragerde, they were very friendly and very good at English and gave us a detailed tour of their school.
We had fun seeing all the different classrooms and the differences between their school and ours.
They were very welcoming and friendly towards us and continued to impress us with their variety of English vocabulary.
Once we had seen their school we had a big snowball fight, England vs Iceland (obviously England won) and then we went for a walk to visit the hot springs.
They were really beautiful and the Icelandic students knew a lot of information on them. It was a lot of fun and a great experience.
At 12 o’clock we left the school to head for the golden circle tour which we were all looking forward to. It was very pretty and full of interesting scenery.
At 2:00 we left for the golden falls. It was amazing, we all enjoyed taking photos of it and with it.
By Becca and Charlotte 😀
Beautiful snow today – a great setting for our next activity. We visited an Icelandic school and made friends with pupils (who had impeccable English).
The inside was lovely and warm, and they even had a theatre room (we were very jealous)!
After the school visit, we headed to see some geysers where there were many hot springs that were at about 100 degrees C. One spouted out a thick cloud of steam and sulphur every 5 minutes. It stank of rotten eggs!
Despite the freezing cold weather we were able to take many extraordinary photos of these hot springs.
The next stop was this spectacular waterfall named the Golden Falls.
While we couldn’t go down to the side of the falls, we clearly understood well – the snow was so deep we saw a bench buried up to the seat! The view was enough to entice several impromptu selfies by its side.
The last activities of the day were two different views of the valley between the American and European tectonic plates. Crossing the bridge was enjoyable as we got to hop in-between!
The streams and pools in Iceland are a beautiful blue colour.
Coins thrown into the water (pollution, tut tut)
Ruohan and Natasha
Today is Bun Monday
In Iceland, the day before Shrove Tuesday is known as Bun Monday. On this day all the children eat buns (bol) – these are choir buns filled with cream and jam and topped with chocolate, much like a giant profiterole.
On Bun Monday the children wake early and armed with colourful wands run into their parents’ bedrooms hoping to catch them unaware, for they must strive to smack their parents’ behinds with the wand. For each successful thwack they will be rewarded with a bun. You can imagine the mayhem, and laughter.
On Shrove Tuesday in preparation for fasting, rather than pancakes, Icelanders serve salt lamb and thick pea soup.
Ash Wednesday sees the local children dress up in fancy costumes and go around all the shops singing and are rewarded with candy.
Traditionally on this day they also play ‘Hitting the cat out of the barrel’ – something like a crazy piñata, only nowadays, thankfully, the cat has been replaced by toffees and candies.