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The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Reykjavik, Iceland. photo credit: Ken Alan

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant’s Immigrant Song was indeed inspired - they later divulged in an interview - while on tour in Iceland in 1970.

I track a herd of sturdy, compact and heavy coated Icelandic horses running parallel with the bus. I marvel at how devoid this land is of trees,with the excep- tion of a few scrubby pines. The present zips by looking millennia younger…

We arrive at a base camp at the foot of lofty-ridged Myrdalsjokull where a long line of sleek snowmobiles awaits. After a cursory tutorial,we’re off - as our guide says - “to reveal the secrets of Iceland’s astonishing glaciers.” As our snowmobiles growl forward, a light snow becomes bright sunlight,which, in typical Icelandic fashion, quickly turns into complete whiteout conditions. We’re now riding into white gauze where the land and sky seemas one. The only horizon I see is the snowmobile’s handlebars.

The mists break and we enjoy buzzing downhill to the pick-up point. We hop on board the bus again and ride down toward the southern coast, soon arriving at our next stop:Hotel Ranga. Considered to be the highest rated hotel outside of Reykjavik,this luxury resort holds fifty-one specially-designed rooms (check out the African Safari suite!), a luxurious spa (naturally), and onsite dining and cater-

ing. The sweeping blonde Canadian pine wood hotel is surrounded by a vast,calm- ing countryside. By twilight, the darkness is deep here – a perfect locale for Northern Lights-watching.

Icelanders have become very self-sustain- ing in agriculture, and you can now see whole communities replete with green- houses of varying sizes. Their natural resource, fish, is most abundant, and I quickly learn how incomparable their aquatic bounty can be: A young and professional staffer has just served me a piece of cod so pristine, so clean and so fresh – it is possibly the best tasting fish I’ve ever had in my life.

“Tak”(“Thank you”) I bid to my host after this visit. “Yes,tak!”my newfriend and tour mate, Amy Sawyer (she’s a travel agent from North Carolina) chimes in happily after having had such a great day. “Tak! Super Tak!”

My final stop fulfills my promise to David Samuelsson, the Visit Reykjavik contact with whom I met at the start of this trip. We’re driven to the famed Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most popular geothermal spa. I’m not daunted by all of the other tour buses in the parking lot and somany peo- ple streaming in. My sentiment, “This place is a mill!” gets quickly replaced by “Ahhh…” once I’ve submerged my tired and pasty body into the faded cerulean of

warmth-enveloping waters. Above the steamy waterline,my ruddy face is briskly buffeted by cold winds. Below, I’m like a pre-born baby basking in a mother’s warm womb.

Looking around at the scores of other pasty-bodied and red-faced spa-goers, I realize this venue,with its spacious dining room and its mezzanine-level event areas and modern locker room facilities, is not about how one looks in the water; rather, it’s about how you can feel in it. I leave rubberized. Loose. Ready to relax on my flight back home.

The Icelandair jet airplane’s ascent looks no different from the one I enjoyed just two days prior in the flight simulator. This is a real trip though; a final flight back to the U.S. I gaze out my window to see if I can get a glimpse of those elusive Northern Lights. Not on this trip, I guess…

It’s no matter. Not seeing the Aurora Borealis gives me a reason to return to Iceland. “Tak!” says my flight attendant as I depart the plane. “Tak!” I reply to her, happy for my enjoyable experiences in Iceland. “Super Tak!”

Ken Alan is theVice President of Concierge Services for Equus Capital Partners. He is the founder of the Philadelphia Concierge Association and a

contributor for several regional publications.

Mid-Atlantic EVENTS Magazine 75

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