From Wednesday to Saturday night, we all covered three bands each at Iceland Airwaves. Most of the bands I saw were amazing–my favorites being Fufanu, Vök and FM Belfast. Their shows left me with my mouth wide open, not believing the amazing shows I had just seen.
Outside of seeing shows, we did a lot of fun outings and excursions, too. On Friday Nov. 4 we travelled to Laugarvatn Fontana, an outdoors geothermic pool.
We took some time sitting in the hot pools, then worked our way to the lake. While some didn’t want to take a dip in the freezing cold water (39 degrees Fahrenheit), I thought that I might as well try all the wild things I could when in Iceland! A few of us lined up, held hands, and ran into the water for a couple seconds, hopped right back out and ran back to the hot pools. It may sound crazy but it felt so invigorating. Plus, the view of mountains reflecting on the lake made it even better.
Another fun activity we did as a group was the Björk Digital Exhibition. We immersed ourselves in the world of Björk–going through multiple virtual reality (VR) set ups. For the first two VRs, we were sitting down, watching music videos. With each turn of our head and swivel of our chair we could follow Björk and explore the world around her, including the inside of her mouth. For other VRs we were standing and interacting with the videos and following orbs of light, waiting for Björk to appear. The technology and creativity that went into this exhibition was incredible.
On Saturday, we all went on a Golden Circle Tour where we learned about and saw beautiful Icelandic landscapes and natural treasures including Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss Waterfall.
We climbed a mountain where the geysers were and got a gorgeous view of the vast scenery. We made it to the waterfall just in time to see the sun “set” with bright pinks and oranges in the sky. All in all this excursion was memorable and a nice look at just some of the natural beauty Iceland has to offer.
On the bus ride back from Gullfoss to Reykjavík, I put my headphones in and listened to the band I had interviewed at the start of this class–Vök. It was only fitting that I listened to their song “Waterfall” after having seen Gullfoss. It felt so surreal traveling through the country side of Iceland, staring out at mountains and tectonic plates, and listening to a band I had fell in love with.
When we weren’t covering the festival, going on excursions or working on assignments, we walked around Reykjavík finding cool record stores, local gift shops, vintage clothing stores and ate many hot dogs. I felt right at home in Reykjavík.
This trip was a great experience. Being able to cover Iceland Airwaves was an amazing thing to do. Each night I saw so many great bands and wrote blog posts on them. I also learned how to be comfortable navigating a foreign city in a short amount of time, which came in handy when needing to go all across town for interviews for my during and final story projects in the class.
I interviewed so many wonderful people who greatly helped me with my two stories. I talked to police detective chief inspector Eyrún Ethorsdóttir and director of LGBT advocacy organization Samtokin ’78 Audur Magndis Audardóttir for my story on LGBT hate crime. For my story on Muslim xenophobia, I spoke with news editor and multicultural council member Paul Fontaine, professor of Middle Easter Studies and Arabic Thorir Jonsson Hraundal and lawyer Helga Vala Helgadóttir.
The information these sources gave me were so much appreciated and I am very grateful. I am also grateful to our professor Althea Legaspi for taking us on this trip to Iceland, and for all of my awesome classmates for making this class an awesome and exciting adventure I will cherish forever.
Though I was fighting off a cold and running on about five hours of sleep a night the majority of the trip, I enjoyed being in Iceland and can’t wait until the day I can go back.