Day 1 of the Companion Program will start with a city tour.
After a break for lunch you will visit Whales of Iceland, the largest museum of its kind in Europe. In total there are 23 to-scale model whales in the main exhibition, representing every kind of whale found off the shores of Iceland.
The models were designed and partially constructed in Iceland, while some larger parts were manufactured abroad and arrived in 20 separate shipping containers. “The idea came from the great interest in all things whale related here in Iceland. Forty percent of all tourists here go whale-watching,” said Hörður Bender, a representative for the museum. “The idea is that you will feel like you’re walking on the bottom of the ocean. Everything you see will be cast in blue, and you will feel as if you are walking among swimming whales.”
Your next stop will be the Saga Museum to experience a close encounter with the most historical figures and major events in the Icelandic history.
To recreate these historical moments in the most authentic way, life-like replicas of historical Icelandic figures have been created, based on descriptions found in the Viking sagas and chronicles.Clothing, weapons and everyday objects were constructed using traditional methods passed down through the ages.
The weapons were specially crafted and the wool and linen articles dyed by hand. All wooden artifacts have been treated in a way that both enhances their appearance and makes them look genuinely old.
Day 2 19 October 2016
Day 2 of the program will start with a whale watching experience. The whales most frequently seen on tours are Elding and Minke whales while Humpbacks, Dolphins and Porpoises are sometimes spotted. Special suits will be available on board for your comfort and warmth, but we advise you to wear your warmest clothes including hats, scarves, gloves etc. as it can get very cold, even on the warmest days. Hot drinks and light refreshments will be available from the on-board café. If you are cold you can sit inside the boat, where you can watch the whales outside from large windows. Once back on dry land you will stop for lunch and an afternoon free for shopping or more sightseeing. For those who wish, the coach will take you back to the hotel.
This year's Optional Tour will take us on the Golden Circle Tour visiting some of Iceland’s most stunning sights, starting with the Geysir geothermal area where the Strokkur geyser shoots a column of water up to 30 metres (98 ft.) into the air every 4-8 minutes in a thrilling display of nature’s forces.
We will get a rare glimpse of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, that takes a brief jog over land before disappearing again beneath the sea. The ridge is essentially a volcanic seam many thousands of miles long, where magma is belched from deep inside the Earth, creating new crust and pushing tectonic plates apart.
The visit continues with Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall, created by the river Hvítá, which tumbles and plunges into a crevice some 32 m (105 ft.) deep.
From there we will visit Fontana Wellness. Since 1929, locals have been enjoying the healing powers of the natural steam baths in the community of Laugarvatn, where nature has created unique surroundings at Laugarvatn Fontana. Hot, healing steam simmers directly from the ground at Laugarvatn Fontana through grids in the cabin floors of this newly decorated wellness centre where nature meets tradition. A visit to the open air baths at Laugarvatn Fontana will give you the opportunity to experience the ever changing Icelandic weather as the thermal baths can be enjoyed all year around. In fact, wintertime makes the visit to the thermal baths an even more memorable experience so be sure to bring your bathing suit.
Our bus will leave the hotel at 9:00 am taking a scenic drive through the fascinating Icelandic countryside. Lunch and snacks will of course be provided along the way.
Note: If you are bringing a guest to any of the social events or the Optional Tour on Friday, please send their name/s to Barb Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can have their name tags ready at the registration desk.