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  • AnExcursionofaLifetime:UntamedIceland

    Thispastyear,IembarkedonmythirdGWTtrip,andasareturnGutsyWomantraveler,Iqualifiedfora5%PastTravelersavingsinadditiontovariousothersavingsoffers.HavingtraveledwithGWTtoMoroccoandPerupreviously,IchosetoheadnorthtoIcelandonthewomenonlyUntamedIcelandtrip.For11daysand10nightsalongwithtwelvewomenfromtheUnitedStatesandCanada,Iexperiencedtheexcursionofalifetimethatmostpeopleonlyreadabout.Uponreturn,Icanwholeheartedlysay,ladies,bookyourGWTtripNOW!

    Icelandwasneveronmytoptenlist,butinthelastyearfriends,familyandeverymajortraveldestinationwritertoutedthisentrypointintothecenteroftheearth.Whatwasfuelingthischangeintravelingtrends?Wasitconcernovertravelingtopoliticalhotspots,theteeteringvalueofthedollar,orjusttheneedforanewandcoolspottovacation?IamgladIdecidedtofindout.LetsfirstdecodeonemajormythaboutIceland;WhiletheIslandislocatedjustamere40milesfromtheArcticCircle,wintertemperaturesareactuallywarmerthanNewYork,

    LondonandParis,withsummertemperaturesyoullonlyneedalightsweaterfor.OneofthefirstthingsyoulearnaboutIceland,isthataslongasyourememberyourgirlscoutpreparednessandtravelwithlightlayersofouterwearandgoodfootwear,Icelandhostsdecentweatheryearroundfortravelerstoexperienceallthereistoseeanddo,andwowistherealot.FromthecapitalcityofReykjaviktotheincrediblyflatanddesolate,thousand-yearoldlavafields,tosomeofthemostspectacularanddazzlingnaturalwondersGWTmakestravelingtouncharteredterritoryeasyandeffortless.Nopre-tripplanningandresearchisnecessary,nocombingthroughtourbooks,searchingoutthesecretsights,bestrestaurantsorlocalattractions.GWTandtheirexperiencedon-the-groundregional

  • operatorOAThavebeeninexistencefordecades,offeringworldwideoperationsandlocalconnectionsthatsetthemwellaboveothertouroperators.WhentravelingwithGWT,everywhereyougoyoufeelasifyouaregettingspecialandexclusiveaccess.Withtheguaranteedsmallgroupsize,youbypasstheovercrowdedtourandditchthetouristyfeelthatmostofusavoidliketheplague.FromthemomentyoulandtoyourdeparturegateyouareinthecapablehandsofanGWTsexpertTravelDirectorfromtheregion,alocalwhonotonlyknowsalltheinsandoutsofyourdestination,butprovidesexclusiveexperiencesthatsetyourtripapart.Visitingauthenticneighborhoods,minglingwithresidentIcelanders,andeatingnotatthenewestMichelinStarrestaurant,butinthehomeofahostfamilyallowstravelerstoexperiencetherealheartofthelocaleinawaythattouristsondouble-deckerbusesnevercan.GWTalsoprovidestheopportunityforwiggleroomandspontaneousadventurewithguidesthatallowtheflexibilitytostumbleuponsomething/someplaceinthemomentandthetimetoexplore.

    IcelandprovidedmanymemorablemomentsincludingTheGoldenCircle,thecircuitofabout300kilometers,rangingfromReykjavik,thendippingsouthtowardIceland'suplands,andback.Withthesmallgroup,ourtourguiderevealedmanysecretsitesandoffroadadventures(includingaspontaneousRVridealongtheruggedblackbeaches).Hereweexperiencedaringofnaturalhighlights.ThingvellirNationalPark,wherewewalkedthelocationofamajorriftbetweentwotectonicplatestheEurasianandNorthAmerica,alongwithGullfossWaterfall

    withsightssoincredible,itsalmostindescribable.Photosandvideosoftheselocationsdontdothemjusticeanditsbesttojustsoakinthewonderasyouwalkdownthesideoftheclifftowardsthewaterfall,orclimbthestairstoseeanoverviewofthesite.AtastopatGeysirHotSprings,weexperiencedsteampouringoffthehotspringsandnaturaleruptionsthattookourbreathaway.ThroughoutIceland,GWTprovidedhotelaccommodationsthatwerespaciousand

  • modernandofferedallthenecessaryamenitiesneeded.ManyofmytravelmatestookadvantageofGWTswaiveronsinglesupplementsenjoyingprivateroomsatnoextracost.ThetimingofourtripcoincidedwiththestartofsomeofthebestviewingofthefamedNorthernLightsandeachnightourtourguidesuggestedaskinghotelstafftowakeuswhenthereweresightings.Iwonteasilyforgetthrowingawarmcoat,glovesandhatovermypajamasandventuringintothecleardarknighttoseethemagicallightshowoftheAuroraBorealisastheelectricallychargedsolarparticlescollidedwiththeearth'satmosphere,andgeneratedripplesofgreen,yellow,blueorvioletlightinthedistantsky.

    AnotherstellarexperienceincludedaWhalewatchingtourupcloseandpersonalwithhumpback,blueandminkewhales,harborporpoisesandwhite-beakeddolphins.Asifthatwasntenough,wecappedthedaywithafishinglessonandanonboardcompetitionandabarbecueofourdayscatch!

    Ononeoflastdays,wewenttotheBlueLagoonThermalSpa.Bypassingthelines,ourguidequicklyandeffortlesslydirectedustoourreservationandacoupleofhoursinthefamedwatersdontmisssomewelldeservedrestandrelaxationandagreattimetodriftoffaloneorminglewithspagoersfromaroundtheworld.IexperiencedaSilicaMudMaskaswellastheAlgaeMask(boththoroughlyrecommended).Icelandisdefinitelyonmylisttoreturnto.IenjoyedsuchawarmwelcomeeverywhereIvisitedandthefoodwasamazing.HighlyrecommendtheIcelandiclambitsfreerange,deliciousandthefatcontentseemssomuchlowerthanathome.Fishlikehaddockandhalibutareinabundance,andshellfishisimpossiblyfresh.Myfavorite,weretheflavorful,plumplangoustines.

  • Cheesesarealsoinabundance,thoughthecountrysmostnotable,Skyr,bearsmoreofaresemblancetoyogurt.Thickandrich,thedairyproductbarelymoveswhenyouturnitscontainerupsidedown.Andamusthavesouvenirtotakehome;Icelandicnaturallicoriceineveryshape,formandflavorfromchocolate-coveredtoinfusedicecream,andevenlicoriceflavoredsaltthatwhenwhippedwithbutterturnsbreadintoagastronomictreat.

    CarolA.IentileownsC.I.VisionsPublicRelationsinNYC,isanavowedGutsyWomanwholovestoventureoffthebeatenpath,discoveringuncharteredexperiencesallovertheworldconnectingwithfellowtravellersandmakingnewfriends.

    GutsyWomenTravelFormoreinformationcontactusat:info@gutsywomentravel.com866-IM-GUTSY(866-464-8879)http://gutsywomentravel.com