Mid-Atlantic Workshop & Seminar 2010 Reykjavik, Iceland

WOW was simply my expression to a lot of the things in Iceland but am sure if you were there, then you would have done the same. When we first got the invitations from the Iceland Tourist Board, I actually deleted mine, because I was thinking it is winter already, so why Iceland? All I could think of was cold, ice and more cold, so delete was the right button. A couple of days later Susan Patrice (Suepat Travel, LLC) my friend and mentor forwarded her email and said “I registered, register, we are going” Oh God! am thinking cold and I was brain freeze, when I replied “We are?”

Well to cut that part of the story short, I reprogrammed my mind and registered with the hope that my Agency will not be accepted (Sorry Susan), but it was! Believe it or not when they sent the program it looked interesting and I found my self beginning to get excited about the whole thing even though I was still skeptical and thinking of the freezing weather. So off we were February 1st, on Amtrak to New York where we met with the others and from New York on Icelandair to the beautiful city of Reykjavik!

     

     

You see each year the city of Reykjavik, Iceland comes alive with hundreds of folks from the Travel industry from all over the world for the Mid-Atlantic Workshop and Seminar. Some to introduce their products and others to be enlightened. This year was no different and in fact this year turned out to be the biggest since it was started 18 years ago and I am mighty proud that my Agency; Yero Travels, LLC did make it and some of our PTANA (Professional Travel Agents of North America) members too! At the workshop we had a chance at meeting suppliers from the Nordic Countries which includes Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Other suppliers were from Scandinavia, USA and Canada. Countries, like Iceland, Greenland, The Faroe Islands, Norway, Finland, Denmark & Sweden had excellent and live presentations to excite anyone about visiting their countries. We the American and Canadian Travel Agents are now more knowledgeable in the History, Geography, Culture, Culinary experience and best adventures of these exciting destinations  in Europe; therefore more equipped to cater to the needs of our clients or anyone looking to vacation there. It was a Seminar aimed at strengthening the ties between Travel professionals in Europe, USA and Canada; and I believe on my part that aim has been achieved! It was one of the best workshop and seminars I have attended despite the fact that the main organizer of the event passed away not too long before the event. The Seminar was enriching, enlightening and in depth. The knowledge we acquired of the various countries, their programs, adventure tours, activities, culture, cuisine etc would like I mention earlier allow us to better sell their products and their destination. I say aim achieved!!! We were lodged in different hotels like the Grand, Hotel Loftleidir which is Icelandiar hotel, Radisson Hotel, Hilton Nordica Hotel whcih was where Susan and I stayed and a couple of other hotels around town.

       

     

     

The Seminar was excellent and the Tour Activity Programs were exceptional. We chose different Tour Activities and I chose the Adventure Activities like the Glacier River Tour (Vatnajokul Glacier in the South East of Iceland is Europe’s largest Glacier) with ATV Ride and Whale watching;  our tour guides were great, but the City Tour was open to everyone. The City Tour was to the Prime Minister’s Office and Home, The Parliament, The house where Reagan and Gorbachev signed the treaty, Saga (Viking) Museum, The Cathedral etc. Reykjavik is certainly a beautiful Vacation destination for everyone. If you are still thinking cold, Ice and more Ice, not so, there are a lot of activities in Reykjavik for each traveller to enjoy and this time of year is low season which means the place is quiet, low travel rates, intimate and cozy hotels, Lobster Feast, Glacier River views, breathtaking Sunrise and Sunset, Northern Light Viewing,  Great Waterfalls, Natural Geysers, ATV rides for the more active and much more! You can be James Bond 007 on the Glacier River; which was the site for the opening of the “Die Another Day” James Bond Movie and I was there! Don’t hate me… It was an unbelievable experience. The sight of this magnificent glaciers that change to a blue color when the sun shines on them was absolutely breathtaking! I mean I love warm weather and the Ocean but this is different, a sight worth viewing, the Seals lazying on the glacier, the black sand underneath and around…. It was simply majestic! 

     

  

        

     

We had an excellent and most delicious Lobster lunch right before our Glacier River Tour and I should mention here, that this place has the freshest and best Sea food of all; not to mention their lamb chops umm… umm… umm… Reykjavik has my vote on Sea food and Lamb. The Vikings dinner we had at the Viking’s Village Restaurant was authentic and an experience not to be forgotten. We saw real Vikings there and a few at the Seminar, I must say they are certainly friendly now! I guess over the centuries they have mellowed down… But it was great seeing them because I learnt about them in School and my 8 year old is crazy about them too, so I picked up some Viking memorabilia for him and a kind Viking lady gave me a flash light and Viking horn for him. Like I said they have certainly mellowed down…….

     

     

     

     

OK, I know you are all thinking, she did not mention the Blue Lagoon!!! Hold your horses, I just like to save the best for last. Oh boy! The Blue Lagoon, not the movie guys! The real famous Blue Lagoon (Energy For Life Through The Forces of Nature) is a geothermal Spa and the most visited attraction in Iceland. The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula and you are required to shower before going into the Lagoon. Don’t worry the Spa is well equipped with all the necessary Spa essentials. The steamy water of the lagoon is part of the lava formation from many years ago and it contains rich minerals like Silica and Sulphur that clears certain skin diseases or irritations. There is a belief that after a bath in the Lagoon, one gets one year younger, I cannot testify to that but I can promise you a smooth, fresh looking and firm skin. The mud in the Lagoon is rich in minerals that work wonders on the face and body and the unique natural ingredients, silica, minerals and algae are the foundation of the Blue Lagoon skin care products. The line of products from the Lagoon can be purchased from the on site shop or online. I bought a couple of the bath products; so watch out the next time you see me, you might not recognize me! I will be looking SWEET SIXTEEN again!! It was our last adventure on the way to the airport and believe me we all slept on the plane like babies. I can see you scrolling through the pictures again and wondering, where is she in the Lagoon? For his eyes only guys! Those were some steamy shots! 

     

     

     

     

Shopping was a handicap for me in Iceland because it was expensive. But in spite of that I bought chocolate, souvenirs and some beautiful winter hats, thermal wear and gloves from 66°North Store which is actually the best winter clothing store in Iceland. Coincidentally the hat I bought for my daughter was what the Iceland Winter Olympic Games Athletes wore to the opening of the Winter Olympic Games. She was screaming with excitement when she saw them on TV. I guess Mom is now cool!

I could go on about the beautiful city of Reykjavik, Iceland but I refuse, I would rather let you after reading this have the desire to visit. My job every time is to make you feel the exciting urge to want to explore new places, new cultures, try new adventures and be willing to try new cuisine like the rotten whale head at the Viking Restaurant urghhh… I see myself also as a travel ambassador for my clients and any one reading this because at my Agency Yero Travels, LLC, you can “See The World Through Our Eyes” before we take you there!

More & better pictures on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=74031352686

Questions & Info: info@yerotravels.com

Our Website:  www.yerotravels.com

BSY