Day 2: Swimming in Hot Springs 

Today we started off by heading to the University of Reykjavik. It was really different seeing the city for the first time because up until then we had not seen really any major civilization just random buildings in the middle of nowhere. At the university we had two lectures, one was on a brief history of Iceland and its resources, and the other was on energy economics. We then headed out for lunch at a place where all the food was baked and cooked using the steam and heat coming from earth. The food was really good and it was crazy that everything was made using the earth. After lunch we hiked for a couple miles to some hot springs. Where we swam it was where a hot spring river and a cold river converged, so that you could always find the perfect temperature. It was really cool because it was definitely something that I could never do on my own because it was basically in the middle of nowhere and no way to know which ones are cold or too hot to swim in, so it was perfect that our tour guides are locals who know. We left the hot springs and went back to the hotel and had dinner. Sometime after dinner a couple people went by saying that they were going to hike to a cave, and so half of the group (myself included) set off traveling to find it. They had found out about the cave from the cook at the hotel who had told them it was an hour away. After hiking for over an hour and 2.2 kilometers through mostly moss and rocky hills we stopped and our guides looked up where the cave actually is. It turned out that the cave was still another 2.5 kilometers away. Since it was already 10:30 most of the group decided to head back towards the hotel, while 5 people and one of our guides went to the cave. I went to the hotel and thought that the hike was totally worth it because we had an amazing view and saw so much. We got back to the hotel before midnight and there was still enough light to walk all the way back since the sun is up for so long here in Iceland. It was an amazing day with a lot of activity and I was happy with all the things that we did today, and definitely will get great sleep.




**P.S. Sorry for posting this a couple of days late. Also I will add photos to all the posts later, but for now the wifi at the hotel is too slow to upload a lot of photos.

Day 1: Introductions

Arriving at the airport was how I started my first day in Iceland. The first thing you do as the plane lands is see a golf course that is right on the coast of the southernmost point of the island. The airport itself was super awesome, everything there seemed a lot more fancy, and overall awesome. After getting my bags from the baggage claim I met up with people from my program and waited in the airport for a couple hours before leaving as a huge group on a charter bus. We took the bus from the airport and stopped at the point where the two tectonic plates meet, that is also in the area of the most volcanic activity in Iceland.

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inside the tectonic plates

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volcanic ash

We then took the bus to hot springs, which are too hot for people to actually go in and smell of sulphur, but are really pretty. So far from what I have seen the landscape in Iceland varies from rocky terrain from lava flow to green shrubbery and mountains, two very different extremes with clear distinctions.

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the hot springs

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non-newtonian fluid?


After seeing the hot springs we went to the hotel/guest house which will be staying at for the next couple of days. Once here we got to our rooms, unpacked, and rested for a bit before going right back outside. We went outside and climbed a hill/mountain that is right behind the guest house and did a few icebreakers and introductions. After that we went back to the guest house and learned about the capstone project that we will be doing over the next ten days.



Before going to Iceland, I had to complete an online course that taught me about different types of renewable energy. The course called Enerdynamics, was a 6 hour course that covered wind, solar, geothermal, biofuel,  hydroelectric, and hydrokinetic power. While wind and solar energy are the most well known renewable energy sources, the other ones are far more interesting to me. Geothermal energy is using the natural heat and/or steam from the earth to create energy, and biofuel is using replenishing sources such as plants that are used as a fuel in a combustion process to create heat, and therefore energy. Hydroelectric energy is most commonly known as the energy that is created by dams, where running water creates energy.

The resource that I find most interesting though is hydrokinetic power. Hydrokinetic power is still fairly new and in the research phase, but it is basically the ability to capture the energy that water creates through natural movements, for example the energy from the waves in the ocean. In my future I think it would really cool to work on hydrokinetic technology and make a way to capture energy easily and cost effectively. Here is a diagram from the Enerdynamics course that explains a way that hydrokinetic energy can be harnessed.

Through the Green Program, I will have the opportunity to visit  Hydroelectric, Biofuel, Geothermal and Wind energy facilities. I think it will be really cool to see first hand how natural occurring aspects from the earth can be used to create energy and electricity that people can actually use. I hope that through the Green Program I can learn more about many types of way to capture naturally replenishing energy sources, and that I can apply this to my future career.

Countdown: 5 days till Iceland

Just saying Hielo

Hielo- Spanish for the word ice, but a fun way to start a conversation.

Hielo Everybody,

This summer I have the awesome opportunity to go to Iceland and participate in the Green Program. Through this program I will learn all about renewable energy sources, and explore Iceland. The program starts on May 14 and goes till May 23. In exactly one week from now I will be in Iceland, and I am super excited. Here on this blog I will post things that I will be learning while abroad, different things I will see and pretty much everything I will experience. So check here to see what I am up to while in Iceland, for something that will sure to be amazing.

-Amalia Martinez

Carnegie Mellon University

Mechanical Engineering