A Walk to Clear the Mind; Reykjavík Edition

HON195 Student Post: Sacha Kiesman, Political Science Major; Honors Minor

 


A Walk to Clear the Mind; Reykjavík Edition

June 24th – Today was our free day in Reykjavík. We all begin our day watching a 360 degree video of the natural features from all across Iceland. The video is projected on the walls and ceiling of a small room in the Harpa center. Beautiful images of fire and ice surrounded me but they aren’t distracting enough so my mind wanders, and I begin to think about my future, a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. Becoming a lawyer would leave my life void of images and visuals like these. My job would primarily be words and texts. The tape deck of possible careers and majors in my head starts flipping again, a thought process that has been stealing away my energy for over a year. I leave with wet cheeks but am practiced at pushing aside these thoughts for later. Continue reading “A Walk to Clear the Mind; Reykjavík Edition”

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The Race Between Continents

HON195 Student Post: Emma Cost, Environmental Planning and Policy Major; Honors Minor



The Race Between Continents

My day started with my friend Katie anxiously shaking me awake. “Emma, there’s Belgian waffles for breakfast again!” I already knew this was the start to a great day in Iceland. I ran to breakfast, late per usual, and quickly devoured waffles.

Today’s agenda was focused more on the fishing industry of Iceland and less on tourist hot spots. Yet Einar, our wonderful tour guide, always has tricks up his sleeve! As we were riding on the bus, Einar pointed out the bridge up the road revealing it was the continental rift. Our sleepy eyes immediately opened wide and suddenly there was more energy on the bus. Continue reading “The Race Between Continents”

Tectonically Speaking, Iceland is Awesome

HON195 Student Post: Benjamin Currie, Finance Major; Honors Minor

Career Aspirations: To work in the outdoor industry


Tectonically Speaking, Iceland is Awesome

During the summer, there are very few attractions in Iceland that are not extremely crowded with tourists. This morning, however, we drove to Reykjanes and our tour bus pulled into a hidden parking lot. There were no other cars around. Only a few short feet from the car was a small foot bridge that crossed both the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. In geology, the theory of tectonic plates says there are nine massive plates that structure the entire earth. Two of these plates run smack against each other in the Reykjanes peninsula. As I stood on the bridge straddling North America and Europe, I was able to admire the wonderful view of the ocean and miles of rugged terrain. On each end of the bridge were small paths that led down to the black sand that’s been trapped between the two rock plates. As we stood in the sand, a starting and finish line were drawn for us to have a race between the plates. The race started in North America and ended in Europe a few moments later, tectonically speaking. After spending about thirty minutes in this strange land that connects two massive continents and plates, we boarded the bus to head to Gunnuhver. Continue reading “Tectonically Speaking, Iceland is Awesome”

Innovative Thinking with a Creative Mind

HON195 Student Post: Autumn Wentworth, English Major; Honors Minor, Public and Professional Writing Minor

Career Aspirations: Editor



Innovative Thinking with a Creative Mind

On Thursday, June 15th, I traveled to the New England Ocean Cluster (NEOC) with my 14 classmates and four professors. After a day of touring the Portland Fish Exchange and exploring Portland, it was refreshing to sit around a large conference table and learn about Eimskip and how it is part of the Ocean Cluster House. Portland has just recently become the New England headquarters for Eimskip, an Icelandic transportation company. While it was originally located in Virginia, the company changed its location to Maine because the Icelandic employees felt more at home. I found this information very fascinating. I’d never been to Iceland before and, despite researching some cultural aspects, I still wasn’t sure what to expect. After hearing that the Eimskip employees were more comfortable in Maine, I hoped that this meant I would be comfortable there as well. As these thoughts were flying through my head, the woman at the head of the table, one of only three or four employees in her department, began by telling us why transportation matters. Continue reading “Innovative Thinking with a Creative Mind”

Searching for the Future in the Past: A Day Of Learning In Iceland

HON195 Student Post: Molly LeComte, International Business Major; Honors Minor

Career Aspirations:  In 5 Years I hope to be a Lawyer


Searching for the Future in the Past
A Day Of Learning In Iceland

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Onward to “fishery” (Reykjavik Maritime Museum)

Today I traveled with my class to three distinctly different places, all to get a better understanding of the maritime fishing industry of Iceland. We started the morning at the Árbaer Open Air Museum in Reykjavik, a small re-creation of what life was like in Iceland during different periods of time.  Houses from all over Iceland are occasionally moved to this historic farm for preservation.  By walking from house to house, one is physically surrounded by Iceland’s past. These homes shine light on what life was like for fishermen and farmers throughout the decades. The houses were so well preserved that it felt as though at any moment the old residents would walk into the home and greet me with an Icelandic “grunt,” the universal greeting in this county. Continue reading “Searching for the Future in the Past: A Day Of Learning In Iceland”

Water and Fire: A Day on the Westman Islands

HON195 Student Post: Lexi Bartlett, Political Science Major, Economics Major; Honors Minor

Career Goals: Foreign service officer, ambassador


Water and Fire: A Day on the Westman Islands

Thirty minutes. Thirty terrifying, exhilarating minutes is how long it took for the Eimskip ferry to travel from Landeyjahofn, on the southeastern coast of Iceland to the Westman Islands. As we boarded the vessel, my stomach churned as the relentless wind and enormous waves rocked us back and forth–and we hadn’t even left the sheltered bay yet. There had been torrential downpouring and ghastly winds all morning, weather that made us question if the ferry would even make its scheduled run. The film Titanic somehow meandered its way into my thoughts. Was I making a mistake getting on this boat? The captain made an announcement that we were departing, first in Icelandic, and then in English, and off we went. Continue reading “Water and Fire: A Day on the Westman Islands”

A Journey to Vestmannaeyjar

HON195 Student Post By: William Jack Hahn III, History Major; Honors Minor

Career Aspirations: I hope to become a teacher at the secondary level.



A Journey to Vestmannaeyjar

Vestmannaeyjar, or the Westman Islands, are a group of islands located off of the southern coast of Iceland. The island was named “Westman” because some of its first inhabitants were escaped slaves from Ireland, whom the Vikings referred to as “Westmen.” Today, the island has evolved into much more than a temporary refuge for slaves–it is an active fishing village and tourist attraction. Continue reading “A Journey to Vestmannaeyjar”

A Day of Water and Rock

HON195 Student Post: Vitaliy Popov, Electrical Engineering Major; Honors Minor

Career Aspirations: Pursue a Masters Degree in International Business



A Day of Water and Rock

On Tuesday when I awoke, it was raining like it always does in Iceland. As I waited for the van with my classmates, I gazed out the window—the rain and low fog in the distance made the sky so mesmerizing. When the van pulled in to Geocamp, we all ran to it like ants to sugar. I grabbed a window seat so that I could continue looking at the vast, flat landscape during the hour ride to Thingvellir, our first destination.  As we drove Iceland’s Golden Circle, it started to rain a lot harder and it was extremely difficult to take photos with the fast water droplets flying by on the glass.  Einar, our guide, began telling us about the history of the Thingvellir, the site of the law rock, Iceland’s first parliament, established around 930 AD.   Continue reading “A Day of Water and Rock”

Must-See Iceland: The Golden Circle

HON195 Student Post By: Hailey Janelle, Environmental Science Major; Ecology/Nature Tourism, and Honors Minor

Career Aspirations: Environmental/Adventure Educator or Park Ranger



Must-See Iceland: The Golden Circle
(updated: 6/23/17)

When planning a trip to Iceland, there are a few must-see things. The Golden Circle is one of them. Starting at þingvellir national park and continuing past waterfalls and geysers, the Golden Circle, an incredible natural phenomenon, is rich in history. Continue reading “Must-See Iceland: The Golden Circle”

The Roads of Reykjavik

HON195 Student Post By: Emma Quinn, History Major (w/ an education 7-12 pathway); Archaeology and Honors Minors

Career Aspiration: History teacher

The Roads of Reykjavik (updated: 6/25/17)

“In regard to the horizon, it is nothing that is in between and it is this nothing that you look at when you forget that you are looking out the window. You are not just looking, you are just thinking. But you don’t see anything. This is where you as the observer, create your own image, according to your own knowledge and experiences.”  – George Gundi, Horizons.   Continue reading “The Roads of Reykjavik”