Cooler Than Expected…
Our World | On 03, May 2013
On a recent site inspection to Reykjavik, I have to confess my overriding thought was “could this be any duller?”. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of my colleagues were telling me what an amazing place it was but sadly it just didn’t float my boat.
So finally the day came around for me to take my group off to see the sights and something strange started to happen…..I started to thaw on the whole idea of this strange, barren island.
Local fast food
After checking into the hotel we headed out for a casual dinner at Hamborgarafabrikkan (The Hamburger Factory). A contemporary, laid-back venue which overlooks the location of the landmark summit between Gorbachev and Regan that marked the end of the Cold War. Locally it’s seen as a fast food outlet but it couldn’t be further from a McDonalds if it tried. Offering a mouth-watering selection of 14 gourmet hamburgers, slick service and delicious Skyre cake (a local speciality), it’s no wonder locals queue out of the door for a seat. We left with happy faces and full bellies.
Next morning came one of the most famous tours the island has to offer – The Golden Circle. With incentive groups you always need an element of surprise and today that surprise was our transport….Huge, hand-built, go-anywhere Superjeeps – monster jeeps with real attitude! It’s a vehicle that certainly gets you noticed and the reaction from the group was fantastic. The day started on a high and continued to get better and better. Rugged National Parks, vast ice lakes, soaring geysers, thundering waterfalls and, the best bit, off-road driving on the glacier. Words cannot describe how breathtaking and exhilarating driving across the huge expanse of ice was. Bright sunshine glinting off the snow, imposing mountains and absolute silence – it was almost other-worldly. A definite highlight for everyone.
The natural spa experience
And so we reached our final day and paid a visit to another icon – the Blue Lagoon. Set in the lava heart of the Icelandic landscape, it’s a natural spa experience like no other. Outdoor geothermal mineral pools give the lagoon its name and as you cover your body in health-giving silica mud and relax in the water you feel a real connection to nature. Getting out is the hard bit…especially when the outside temperature is -10! Refreshed and invigorated we headed off to the airport for our flight home.
My whistle-stop tour of Iceland showed me that there is more to this place than first meets the eye. Nature lovers, adrenaline junkies and party people will all find something to love about this intriguing town but there’s something else which you can’t quite put your finger on that gives the place its magic. Maybe all that fresh, clean air had gone to my head but there was definitely something about the Icelandic people that made the trip even more memorable; they’re warm and open, crazy (but then who wouldn’t be with 24 hour daylight!) and have a fantastic sense of humour. Add in the fact that you might get a glimpse of the Northern Lights and I think you have a winning package.
So, am I converted? Yes, I think I am.