I Dream Travel is a full-service travel agency, offering Land and/or Cruise Planning and Complete Vacation Packages to suit every budget
I Dream Travel is a member of the Cruise Planners/American Express family, providing a tremendous reputation for quality, service, and very competitive pricing for ALL of your travel needs. Due to our high sales volume, our buying power enables us to offer you the opportunity to travel in style at the lowest prices available, while still receiving the best service in the travel business. If you live in the Metro Atlanta Area, we will come to you (home or office) to help plan the perfect vacation for you and your family Cruise Planners is a licensed, bonded, and insured agency. We are members of CLIA (Cruise Line International Association), NACOA (National Association Of Cruise Oriented Agencies), and ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). When we arrange your trip, you can feel confident that you are receiving an exceptional cruise and/or tour vacation. Our goal is to work extremely hard to ensure that your overall experience meets your needs and exceeds your expectations. We offer negotiated rates with exceptional service and look forward to assisting you with all of your travel needs.
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A review of my trip to Iceland:
1) This is NOT a trip for you if you are looking for the "resort experience"...you won't be laying on the beach with a pina colada in your hand catching rays and deciding if you should take a dip in the pool. If you are looking for an Adventure Trip - if you like hiking, camping, horseback riding, snowmobiling, whale watching, anything "nature" - then this is the place for you.
2) This is also not a cheap trip. Everything in Iceland is pretty expensive. Since my luggage decided to go to Rio instead of Iceland, I had to buy some new clothes, including a new rain jacket (a MUST if you're going to be in Iceland). I was directed toward a quality Icelandic brand of rain gear called 66 North (as in, Iceland is located at 66 degrees north longitude). After finding one that I liked, I tried figuring out the currency conversion in my head. I had to check with the the girl at the register to make sure I had the price right - her response? "Oh, this is on sale...it's $650." Yep...I had done the math right in my head. When I explained my situation and that I had a good jacket in my luggage and was just looking for something to get me through until it arrived, she directed me to the Hagkaup store down the hall. It's sort of the Icelandic version of JC Penny. There I found a jacket for around $70.
3) That being said, most of the "goods" you buy in Iceland are TAX FREE for anyone with a permanent address outside Iceland. Just ask for the Tax Free printout with your receipt and when you get to the airport, you can turn all your receipts in for a refund of 14.5% (that's a pretty hefty sales tax if you ask me) - they will offer it to you in cash on the spot (in Icelandic Kronurs) or will credit it back to your credit card if you used one for your purchases.
4) THE WEATHER changes consistently. I saw a t-shirt that joked "welcome to Iceland - if you don't like the weather just wait five minutes". This was absolutely true. I found myself wearing a t-shirt at one point during the day and then needing a fleece and rain jacket by the end of the day. Most of the time I was there, it was overcast so you definitely need a good rain jacket if you're doing there.
5) The country is beautiful, but in a much different way than, say, Hawaii is beautiful. It brought to mind how the world must have looked when it first cooled and sparse vegetation started to grow. The ground over most of the country that I saw was broken and exposed volcanic rock with a mossy ground cover on it. There are NO native trees in Iceland - one of our guides joked, "what do you do if you're lost in an Icelandic forest? Stand Up." He also told us of the first cartographers who came to Iceland to make the first maps of the country. On that first map was marked THE Tree. Yes, there was only one tree on the entire island at the time. They have since imported some trees and there are a few stands of tree in the city, but once you get out of Reykjavik you'll see hardly any. In many places, steam was spewing from the ground due to the geothermal activity under the island. I visited one of the areas with Geysers, which was really cool.
6) The air is VERY clean...I didn't realize just how fresh it was until I returned to Atlanta and my allergies instantly hit me in the face like a frying pan. The water is also very clean and clear (coming straight off the glacier). At one point we passed a lake where scuba divers were walking across the road to get to the entry point. Our guide commented that the water was so clear that you could see all the way to the bottom, even though the lake was almost 200 feet deep in places. It was obviously very cold water too - they were all wearing dry suits when they came across the road.
7) Be prepared to see some things on the menu in restaurants that you might not see anywhere else. In some places I saw horse, puffin, fermented shark (called Hakarl). You don't have to try it, but you'll see it on the menu. One traditional Icelandic dish that I loved was the "traditional meat soup" served with bread. It's similar to vegetable beef soup with lamb instead of beef. It was delicious.
All in all, I loved it in Iceland. Since I'm the adventurous type, I loved the activities that were planned for us - horseback riding, snowmobiling, hiking on a glacier, whale watching - all the things I like to do. I wish I had been offered the chance to dive in that lake.
I learned a lot about the history and culture of Iceland (both of which I thoroughly enjoy). I learned that the original inhabitants of Iceland were Norwegian men and Irish women (I'm guessing the women were kidnapped by the Norwegian men on the way, but I'm not sure).
I also learned not to entirely trust anything I was told while I was there because (as one of our guides pointed out), an Icelander will never let facts get in the way of a good story.
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