Otherwise known as Paul’s Icelandic Adventure for his 60th! And it was a celebration to remember for a long time. Why Iceland I was asked. Why not? Because Iceland is a unique destination that offers pristine nature, breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture in its capital city of Reykjavik. But that didn’t seem to fly for this motley crew of Paul’s 22 besties. They wanted to go to St Barts where the wine flows like water and bikini clad hotties are on display. I wanted a captive audience where no one has been YET and I found it in Iceland although we almost got sidetracked with the erupting volcano still threatening to surface. Besides, anyone can go to St Barts. Volcanos, Waterfalls, Geyers oh my! Glaciers, Rainbows, Hidden people oh dear! Sheep’s balls, Shark, Pork dogs, and the World’s biggest hot tub OH yeah! Just a few of our favorite things that 4 days in Iceland can bring. It’s the land of Fire and Ice and yes we were cold and wet most of the journey but troopers we were. As they say in Iceland, there is no such thing as inclement weather when you have the right gear. So off we went shopping to support the local economy and surely because those Icelanders have damn good outdoor gear. They know rain sideways and upways. Interestingly, Iceland remains largely uninhabited, with more than 320,000 people living in the capital city of Reykjavik where geothermal energy is used to heat more than 90% of all homes and buildings. We learned “How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes” from a one-man show at the beautiful new Harpa concert hall. A must see in Reykjavik. Then it was off the grid from the moss-covered lava fields throughout the highlands to the soaring fjords. We traveled in our very own bus on the Ring road to see and experience the land. It looked similar to being on the moon and reminded me of the big island in Hawaii, treeless with all the volcanic rock. Our first Bus stop was Seljalandsfoss where we walked behind a 180 foot waterfall and lunched at the Old Cowshed before proceeding to the Solheimajokull glacier where we strapped on crampons and took our ice pick for walk in the country. This was a first for most and as adventurous as it gets. So fun. For the next couple days, we switched gears and headed into the wilderness area of Thor’s forest in 4×4 vehicles on the north side of Eyjafjallajokull (AY-yah-Fyad-layer-kuh-tel) volcano, the one that erupted in 2010 and held up Europe’s air traffic control for a week. It seems to me that the volcano is still a little angry in that it proceeded to rain and blow wind harder than the Icelanders have seen in a long time. We dodged huge rivers and streams like nobody’s business with only a handful of us actually braving the elements for a hike while the others “patiently” waited in the warming hut for us! Hotel Ranga was ready and waiting for us as well, an absolutely charming little country place in the middle of nowhere where the conditions for viewing the Northern Lights are optimal…if it’s not cloudy and the stars are all aligned! It didn’t happen for us even though we got a false alarm wake up call but I have a picture of what they are supposed to look like…Dorothy’s house in the wizard of oz! Good enough for me until I’m in the neighborhood again. Our next BUS stop was Gullfoss, Iceland’s most scenic waterfall although they say that about all of them, and geyser, the hot spring that gave its name to the phenomenon worldwide. The biggest treat was our lunch stop in a family-run greenhouse ranch where they grow hothouse tomatoes and show off their pure breed Icelandic horse brought here by the Viking Settlers 1000 years ago. Fascinating show! and comical how they gallop so gingerly while the rider drinks from her mug. Then it was off to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the location of Iceland’s Parliament between 930 and 1798. Again, the rain prevailed and cut our major hiking day in half opting instead to get back to Reykjavik to shop for some more outdoor gear (cause god knows we need it) and for our final celebratory evening together with more toasts and roasts for the man we hold dear to our heart. But we saved the best for last because no visit to Iceland would be complete without a visit to the Blue Lagoon who’s mission is the same as mine…to promote wellness and energy for life through forces of nature. HA. Our closing ceremony at the Blue Lagoon brought us full circle into the healing powers of pure nature. It was an unforgettable adventure and I savor the moments, the friendships, the camaraderie, the laughter, the kind words, the love in the cleanest air ever, and my special sons. I was looking for something unexpected, out of the ordinary, rugged yet beautiful, and rich in culture just like my 60-year-old man. We not only learned what makes Iceland special, but we experienced what makes friendships so special and how to love and celebrate life in the good times. As they say in Iceland “Petta Reddast” – everything will work out in the end and this trip was perfection. For an encore, Paul’s 70th will be the cruise.
2 thoughts on “#PIA60”
Best trip ever, I do wish it was a bit more challenging. Next trip I hope the group will be more advanced.
What a perfect recount of #PIA 60. Beyond fabulous and very soggy! Erin, you rocked it my dear, amazing friend. We rocked Iceland and Paulie was so happy! Memorable to say the least… and all soooo good! Where do we go next? I miss everyone.
xo “Glacier Hike Advanced Group member”