EpicAway

Iceland in Rearview

This is a summary of INCREDIBLE ICELAND told in photos. This post is for my brother and anyone else who would rather see more pictures and read less writing. First photo is Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon. It is located to the south of the larger and more famous, Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. The glassy surface is a perfect mirror for icebergs and glaciers. At this time the lagoon was frozen solid. We picked up rocks and flung them forward. They hit the frozen surface like thick glass and made a sound like a musical instrument. It was a hollow, clear sound and it had a twang. I can’t even put it into words. When someone threw a rock it skimmed across the…

Aurora Disco

Did I see the Northern Lights?  Check it off my bucket list?  The lightshow in the sky was the whole motivation for braving the Icelandic winter.  Why not go in summer when the weather is nicer, the days are longer, and you don’t have to see the countryside in a 6-hours of daylight whirlwind timeframe?  To see the Aurora Borealis of course.  Everyone on my tour came as an Aurora hunter and it was pretty much the only “must do” on our collective wish list.  On the first night, when our G Adventures CEO (Chief Experience Officer) Oliver was going over the itinerary, we were all thinking, cut to the chase, get to the part about the Lights.   YES,…

Solheimar Ecovillage Iceland

As a G Adventures Ambassador of Change one of my roles is to share the story of G Adventures and their non-profit Planeterra Foundation, and the good that they are doing together in the world.  Planeterra connects local communities with global travelers.  G Adventures supports Planeterra financially and also provides the structure for bringing travelers to Planeterra projects around the world. This is their vision: “A world where people create their own economic opportunities, places are protected, and cultures are celebrated through travel.” In Iceland, Planeterra has a partnership with the Solheimar Ecovillage.  This inspiring, self-sustaining community is a place for disabled and non-disabled people to support each other and live together in harmony and mutual benefit.  It sounds like…

Epic Glacier Hike & Lagoon

My G Adventures group and I are hiking on a slice of Iceland’s largest glacier today, November 18.  The guides must approve our hiking boots for proper ankle support otherwise we’ll be forced to rent their boots.  We’re getting heavy duty steel crampons and ice picks.  Our glacier guide Christian says the ice picks are for photo ops.  Hah.  We’ve arrived at Vatnajökull National Park and after we are all approved and loaded on a minibus we’ll drive to the path where the glacier hike starts. Icelandic has a lot of pronounciation rules.  Here’s where we’re at.  There’s like 7 vowels.  The drive from the equipment rental area to the glacier trail is better than a ride at Six Flags. …

G Adventures in Iceland

I’m on my G Adventure in Iceland.  November 16-November 24, 2019 I’ll be captive to a mini bus, my CEO and 11 other adventurers from around the world.  I say around the world, but 6 out of 12 of us have come from the US and out of that, 4 people are from Chicago.  The rest are from the UK, Canada and Croatia.  We all have one thing in common that gives us an immediate shared experience and camaraderie.  We all love to travel. Our G Adventures CEO (Chief Experience Officer) is Oliver.  He is a young German man who came to Iceland years ago to live and work here.  At one point he might have thought it was temporary,…

Silfra Fissure Icewater

The Silfra Fissure is for real.  Today, November 15, is the first time I snorkeled in 3 degrees Celsius.  First time I swam inside a crack in the Earth.  First time I put on a dry suit.  I keep saying Iceland is a Land of Fire and Ice but yesterday I was in a geothermal pool of warm, milky blue, saltwater in a bathing suit and today I was in ice-cold fresh glacier melt in a dry suit.  And both were natural temperatures! It sounds impossible but you can dive and snorkel in ICE-land.  In fact, it’s supposed to be one of the top dive sites in the world because of the uniqueness and the incredible visibility.  100+ meters! That’s…

Northern Light Inn

My friend Tina was the first person I ever knew to go to Iceland.  This was back in the late 90s or early 2000s when no one was really going to Iceland.  Back then she told me it was like the surface of the moon.  Which I really didn’t understand.  Because a) how did she know what the surface of the moon was like and b) what in the world made the geography like something out of this Earthly world?  I finally have an answer.  It’s the lava landscape. Iceland was formed a long time ago from volcanos and earthquakes.  And as the earth moved and erupted and land rose from the ocean and the lava came pouring out of…

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

November 13, 2019.  8 AM.  I’m on the plane on my way to Iceland.  Technically I’m on my way to Portland, Oregon.  I decided to fly out of John Wayne Airport, instead of having John drive me to LAX at the break of dawn.  I was supposed to go non-stop SNA to Seattle, but at the last minute the flight got cancelled and I got re-routed from SNA to Portland to Seattle.  When I left the house this morning I took a package of Trader Joe’s orange cranberry scones with me.  My husband said, why are you taking those?  I said, because food is really expensive at the airport and in Iceland.  Maybe I’ll want a snack.  He said, that’s…

Disney Princess

This blog post is not about Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella or Tiana.  Actually, it’s about 2 cruise ships: the Disney Wonder and Royal Princess.  I went on both in a short time period and so I thought I’d combine the two reflections into one post. First, the Disney half.  Until recently, I’d never been on a Disney cruise ship.  I happen to have a few good friends who love Disney Vacations and at least one of them has probably been on a Disney cruise a half dozen times.  So when I got the chance for a tour on October 9, I had to go, if only to tell them I’d finally gotten on board.  Disney Wonder was docked down in San…

Travel Glamour

Thursday, June 13, 2019 Originally, I had birthday dinner plans to celebrate a childhood friend.  But when she started feeling ill we postponed till a later date and my evening opened up.  Around 1pm I got a message.  “I have an extra ticket for the TravelAge West Wave Awards tonight.  It’s a black tie event.  Do you want to go?  Leaving in three hours.”  Uh, yes I want to go.  But could I arrange it on my end?  The message was from Betsy who runs the Uniglobe Travel Center (UTC) office, my travel host agency.  She and Rose, my mentor at Uniglobe, go to this event at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey every year.  This year they had…