Dark Sky Ecotourism Transnational Meeting #2 in Iceland: A Journey Through the Stars and Progress.
The Setting: Hólar í Hjaltadal University, Iceland
From the 21st to the 23rd of November 2022, the campus of Hólar í HjaltadalUniversity in North Iceland turned into a hub of brainstorming, collaboration, and outdoor adventure for the INDSKYDark Sky Ecotourism project. Set amidst stunning landscapes, the university became the stage for the second Transnational Meeting.
Everyone touched down at Keflavík International Airport by 14:00. The warm and ever-so-welcoming Kjartan was on hand to drive the team to Hólar, which was a good 4 to 5 hours away. A cosy coffee stop was made en route to keep spirits high. Weather is always a wild card in Iceland, but luckily, it played nicely this time.
Night One: Into the Dark Sky
Upon arrival, dinner was served, and then the real excitement began. As the clock hit 21:00, cameras were set up for night sky photography. The event could have been moved to Tuesday, depending on weather conditions, but the skies were clear, and the stars shone brightly.
Tuesday's Tasks: Deep Dives and Outdoor Excursions
After a hearty breakfast at Kaffi Holar, the main Uni building, the day kicked off with an overview of the project. Mark Bolger and Luigi Casoria led the first presentation on the Dark Sky Ecotourism Guide, followed by Grace Roche on auditing and assessment tools.
Lunch was a quick affair, making way for more presentations in the afternoon, including Vocational &Educational Training by Maria Clara and Kjartan, and a talk on the Dark Sky Ecotourism App by Cathy Kelly and Tony Johnston.
But work wasn’t the only item on the agenda. At 17:30, the team ventured outdoors for a unique Dark Sky Ecotourism activity. Depending on the weather, this involved either a serene walk or a floatin a swimming pool. The day closed with dinner, giving everyone time to relax and unwind.
Wrapping Up: Final Discussions and Farewell
Wednesday was the day for reflections and fine-tuning. Conversations revolved around improving work methods and cooperation. Teams also worked on their respective project results, discussing timelines and planning future transnational meetings.
After lunch, the caravan headed back to Reykjavík, engaging in some last-minute Dark Sky activities along the way. The trip culminated in a final informal dinner in the capital city, a fitting end to a highly productive and engaging meeting.
A Meeting Like No Other
In summary, the INDSKY Transnational Meeting in Iceland was far from just another corporate gathering. It was a blend of serious work, outdoor escapades, and the universal allure of the night sky, hosted in one of the most stunning settings imaginable. Until the next meet-up, the memories of this one will surely keep everyone inspired.